MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – At least 70 people were forced to leave their homes indefinitely Friday after a mandatory evacuation at Crystal Lake Apartments in west Macon.
The evacuation of the tower and mid-rise building was ordered by the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department and Code Enforcement after a thorough review of the complex revealed unsafe conditions.
The fire department and Code Enforcement contacted apartment management and advised them the buildings must have no occupants while repairs take place.
The buildings must remain closed until the fire department and Code Enforcement have inspected the repairs and deemed the buildings as safe.
“The electrical and life safety systems in these buildings have been disabled and cannot be repaired in a short amount of time, making them unsafe for people to occupy,” Fire Chief Marvin Riggins said. “Until those systems can be repaired, we can’t open the building.”
Business Development Services Director Ricky Fuller says pooled water was found around the electrical systems and the exterior stairs. Fuller says inspectors will monitor the repairs as they happen.
Emergency Management Agency Director Spencer Hawkins encourages people to seek out friends and family to stay with while repairs are being made. People without a place to stay can go to Salvation Army Headquarters at 1955 Broadway.
“We are making this decision to make sure people are in safe and warm accommodations, and to make sure repairs are made before anyone is allowed to occupy these buildings again,” Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said. “We know this move will be hard on families, but we would rather they be inconvenienced than injured.”