Three elderly women living in the Lighthouse Plaza Apartments in Atlantic City have been evicted, and they don't understand why.
"It's foul and somebody needs to be held accountable for it."
Evicted tenant, Edga Rowell, said "I found this in the box from the fire department and I had to be out of my apartment at 4 o'clock on Friday afternoon… and I don't think it's fair."
Tenants at the Lighthouse Plaza say that they were only given 24 hours to evacuate their property before fire officials came and boarded up their front doors. Some tenants still have belongings on their property and lights still on outside. "They should have at least given us a 30 day notice," said Rowell.
Marte King, a local community activist, explained, "It's not an issue with the fire department or anything like that - it's an issue with the management. If this property was so dilapidated that people had to be evacuated, in a sense, in less than 24 hours...then they had to have had some prior notice." Tenants say property managers never notified them of the pending evacuation.
Rowell said, "The property manager – I'm upset because she didn't give us a notice and it's not right."
Officials from the Atlantic City Fire Department say Lighthouse Plaza managers were notified over 9 months ago that the property was unsafe for residents to live in, and that they must make changes. On the other hand, the property managers said the repairs they made did not meet the fire department's standards, and because of that, the department was forced to take action.
King noted, "They did nothing about it nor did they notify any of the residents of what went on - so they knew that this was happening."
Fire officials say property managers were uncooperative with code enforcement agencies and that the eviction was the only thing they could do to ensure the safety of nearby homes.
King said, "And you have elderly women who are the victims of this injustice."
Fire officials told NBC40 that the evicted women would be able to get their belongings back with the help of the Atlantic City Police & Fire Departments, if asked.
Any concerned citizens can attend the community consciousness meeting at Stanley Holmes Community Center on Saturday night at 6pm to discuss further actions.