Legacy Apartments in Levelland evicts tenants for building's fir - FOX34 Lubbock

Legacy Apartments in Levelland evicts tenants for building's fire code violations

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LEVELLAND, Texas -

The City of Levelland issued multiple fire code violations to the Legacy Apartments complex, and in response, the owner, based in California, issued 30 day eviction notices back in November.

This means at least 50 people have until Friday to vacate their homes. 

Levelland City Manager Erik Rejino said police and fire marshals discovered these issues as early as September and notified the property owner that she had a decision: Investigate the violations, or evict all the tenants. 

"We have an obligation, as a city, once we are aware of those issues, to move forward on them, regardless of the time of year. It's a difficult situation and the city's stance is that the public's health and safety comes first," Rejino said.

While the city does not have a public assistance program to help these evicted tenants, he said they have partnerships with organizations, such as the Salvation Army, that will help.

"This morning, several of those folks actually went out to Legacy Apartments to offer their assistance in case there are some people out there that are still in need of assistance," Rejino said.

However, Larry Garcia, the maintenance manager and a tenant himself, said this was nothing more than a political stunt. 

"Today, we had city hall come in and bring us doughnuts, coffee, and all that, but they were supposed to help us with finding a place to live and give us help from the Red Cross. We didn't get any of that," Garcia said.

Rejino said the harbinger for these fire code violations was a small fire earlier this year, exposing electrical and structural deficiencies.

"Because of all the fire code violations, had the fire been larger, it would have certainly been a higher potential for a loss of lives, but fortunately, we were able to get everyone out safely," Rejino said.

Garcia said the system has been checked by several independent electricians, none of whom saw any structural problems. 

He added it was a grease fire, and he said it is being used by city hall as an excuse to get rid of the building.

"They said it was an electrical fire and it wasn't. I took down that vent myself and it was in good shape other than it was melted because of the fire," Garcia said. "You could tell where the fire started. It goes up from there. It didn't start from up there and go down. It never does, so how can that be, you know?"

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