TEMPLE HILLS, Md. - After years of problems, officials have deemed a condominium community in Prince George's County unsafe and ordered all residents to move out within 24 hours.
Prince George's County fire officials have notified residents that they would have to vacate Lynnhill Condominiums by noon on Wednesday after it was determined the buildings were unsafe.
Tempers flared as residents of the community on Good Hope Avenue in Temple Hill yelled at officials as the announcement was made.
While investigating the buildings, FOX 5 found disgusting conditions including gaping holes in the ceiling, standing water, piles of trash, an abandoned toilet and a strong odor in hallways. Residents also complained of mice, rats and flies.
"This will be my place," a resident named Dawn told FOX 5 as she sat in her car. "Me, my dogs and my cat will live here."
Fire officials said the conditions were too dangerous and had no other choice.
"Those who are not out by noon, the county will seek a court order to have them removed," Prince George' County Fire Chief Ben Barksdale announced.
Fire officials said there were about 100 people living at Lynnhill Condominiums, but most of the units were abandoned and squatters were an issue.
The majority of residents left in October after utilities were shut off because the management failed to pay $1 million in bills. While the state ordered utilities to be turned back on at that time, a Pepco spokesman said the Maryland Public Service Commission authorized gas and electric to be shut off for good.
With conditions so bad, many in the complex stopped paying rent and complained of rampant violence.
FOX 5 spoke to a man in the management office on Monday who wouldn't give his name. He said the management team was working to sell the property, but nothing had been finalized yet.
The Community of Hope AME located at the Iverson Mall Shopping Center in Temple Hill said it would attempt to help as many residents as possible find new permanent living situations.
Lawyers also said they would ask that the deadline be extended beyond noon to allow the residents more time to vacate, though they did not specify how long they were seeking to extend the deadline.