Residents could be forced to vacate Sharpstown condo complex

August 9, 2012 5:43:42 AM PDT
Families living in a Sharpstown condo complex may be forced to abandon their homes because of an ongoing problem.

Residents at the Sussex Condominiums Hornwood in Sharpstown are a little startled by the warning signs now posted their buildings.

"We have a building that has been deemed unsafe by the fire department," resident Kevin McGinnis said.

The fire marshals office says they have fined the building's management 10 times in the last six weeks for not having water pressure in their standby pipe system or fire pumps.

It's the water firefighters rely on if there is a building fire. The signs are to alert residents and firefighters.

"And basically that's to notify the occupants of the building that 'Hey, this is a dangerous building, you don't have water.' And to notify our firefighters if there is not water in the building, we have to supply the water," said Marian Spann, chief of the Houston Fire Marshal's Office.

ABC13 contacted a board member with the Sussex. He told us, "We have contractors in the building working on the situation now. We should have the problem resolved by tomorrow."

However, Spann says they've heard that before.

"Our inspector has been out there every week and on the occasions that he is out there. He hasn't seen anyone working the system," Spann said.

The board's HOA has been given seven days to fix the problem. If it's not resolved by then, they'll be granted another 24 hours before the fire marshal's office can decide to vacate the building.

"It's stressful. I'm wondering if I will have to vacate my apartment," McGinnis said.

McGinnis just shakes his head, saying it's simply a case of mismanagement.

"And I think that is the main cause of this. Just problems not being taken care of, business not being attended to," he said.

Chief Spann say the Sussex building is the only one in the city of Houston with those warning signs. So if the problem it not resolved in nine days, residents might have to leave.

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