Residents ordered to leave condemned Eatonville motel

Police chief says building has serious structural damage

EATONVILLE, Fla. - Building inspectors investigated the motel on Friday that has been condemned in Eatonville, forcing all residents living in the motel to get out by the end of the night.

The chief of police in Eatonville said he's known the Eatonville Home Town Suites, located on East Kennedy Boulevard, has had serious issues for two weeks.

City officials said they plan to turn off the power in the property on Friday night and everyone must leave.

Building inspectors did a second inspection on the motel Friday morning and say the building needs to be condemned.

Chief Gene Bernal said he had received a letter from a building inspector two weeks ago reporting the motel had "serious structural damage" and that the building was in danger of "catastrophic collapse."

But he said he didn't have enough information to warn people living there until two days ago, when he gave them notice and condemned the building.

Bernal said an inspector will take a second look at the building tomorrow, and then decide whether or not to continue with the evacuations. The owner appealed the decision to close the motel, and that's why the town agreed to have a second inspection.

Bernal said he's given residents a list of resources, but they tell Local 6 they have little money and few options.

"I'm just out here, out here without any money, without any place to go," said Devy Jefferson, who's lived in the motel for six years.

Clarence Mack says he and his wife have lived at the property for 14 years and never felt unsafe.  He says they have no place to go.

"If it comes down to it and we have to go, then we gotta do what we gotta do," he told Local 6

"My concern is the safety of the people in that building, to make sure that nobody gets injured over there," Bernal said.

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