City inspectors close Portland apartment building undergoing renovations; about a dozen tenants displaced

Posted Aug. 07, 2014, at 5:39 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Live wires exposed and broken fire alarms are just a few of the problems at a Portland apartment building. Inspectors say they had no choice but to shut down the building, leaving about a dozen people in need of finding someplace else to live.

City inspectors said anyone could’ve walked into this apartment building and known it was not safe to live there.

Live electrical wires covered the entrance to one tenant’s apartment at 193 Congress St.

The property owner is renovating the common area.

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On Tuesday, construction crews tripped a fire alarm. The fire department responded and immediately called city inspectors.

Director of Inspections Tammy Munson said in addition to the live wires hanging everywhere, the fire alarm is broken, the sprinklers don’t work, and, with the plaster removed from the walls, there’s no “fire separation” to protect the people living in the building’s 10 units.

The city told the Portland-based property management company, Dirigo Property Management, the tenants couldn’t live there with the building in that condition.

“There’s a minimum standard that people have to meet,” Munson said. “And it’s not that people can’t work on buildings while they’re occupied, but they have to do it safely. And clearly, when you have live wires hanging in common areas, when there’s unsafe means of egress, we can’t allow buildings to stay occupied.”

Residents said Dirigo Management sent them to the homeless shelter Tuesday night, but the shelter was full.

We tried contacting Dirigo, but they did not return our calls.

After contacting property owner I-95 Portland LLC, based in California, the owner referred back to Dirigo.

No word on how long the displaced tenants will need to wait until they can return to their apartments.

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