Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- News 19 is on your side after residents at the West Avenue apartment complex in Columbia learned they are being evicted, just days before Christmas.
Documents from the Columbia Fire Department show the owner of the West Avenue apartments, Kevin Byrnes, has been cited for numerous building code violations. News19 has learned that the owner of the apartment complex was hit with citations totaling $5,000.
Previous Coverage: Families Seeking Shelter After Complex Loses Heat
A group of families living at the West Avenue Apartments, behind Palmetto Health Richland, have been displaced after the apartment's owner failed to provide proper wiring and heat to the apartments.
Brick Lewis, spokesperson for the Columbia Fire Department, says Byrnes has been cited ten times for $470 each. The citations were written for "failure to comply applicable building code (not providing proper heat and electrical hazard)."
Residents say the final picture of where they may end up is starting to develop, and it doesn't look good.
"We don't know what we're going to do. We don't know what we're going to do tomorrow," said Paulina Rivera. "We are not going to be a family no more. We are not going to be a family no more."
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it only takes one for Paulina Rivera to describe the portrait of her fellow residents being evicted at the West Avenue Apartments.
"Terrible," said Rivera. "I don't know how to explain it."
Residents learned earlier in the week the electrical wiring at their complex, built in 1946, was ruled unsafe by fire officials. While only one building has already been evicted, soon the entire complex will be homeless.
"We've been thrown out on the street but by the 27th we've got to be out of here. Everybody," said Rivera.
Residents evicted from building J were given two nights in a motel. But after their stay runs out, they'll be on the street.
"They told us this morning, that if we were here on the 27th after they shut the electricity down at 6pm, they will get us for trespassing," said resident Gail Blanks. "We should be enjoying this week and looking forward to it."
A snapshot of residents who consider themselves victims, who now are looking for only one thing.
"Help. We need help. We need a lot of help," said Rivera.
News 19 has learned that corporative ministries has reached out to those already evicted, offering an extra night's stay at their motel. Unfortunately, that will end tomorrow morning at eleven.
Mayor Steve Benjamin is expected to meet with residents Wednesday at at their motel.