NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Dozens of residents living in North Providence’s Canterbury Village have been left scrambling after receiving a 24-hour eviction notice.
North Providence Mayor Charlie Lombardi confirmed that the town’s building inspector and fire department condemned the condominiums due to the deplorable conditions inside.
Lombardi tells 12 News it started with a pipe that burst back in February, causing significant damage throughout the condominiums. He expressed his frustrations with Vista Management, which maintains Canterbury Village.
WATCH: North Providence mayor Charlie Lombardi gives a statement (Story continues below.)
“We couldn’t get them to cooperate,” Lombardi explained. “We had to take them to court, and then they agreed to hire an architect, but they still haven’t done that.”
“This decision wasn’t easy, but God forbid something happened,” he added.
North Providence Assistant Fire Chief John Horan described the safety hazards within the condominiums as “shameful.”
“When we got there, what we saw was deplorable,” Horan said. “It’s just not a safe environment at all.”
Horan said the town not only uncovered asbestos while inspecting the condominiums but also discovered that an egress corridor in one of the buildings was “severely compromised.”
Janet Clark, who has lived at Canterbury Village for two years, fought back tears while explaining her situation to 12 News.
“It’s just not feasible,” Clark said. “Even if you could find a moving company, it wouldn’t happen in 24 hours.”
“I have health issues,” she continued. “I have nowhere to go and I’m alone.”
Richard Wessen, a three-year resident of Canterbury Village, echoed Clark’s concerns.
“In my opinion, this is very inhumane,” Wessen said.
Lombardi pinned the blame squarely on Vista Management, who he believes should’ve never put their tenants in this situation.
“Let me be blunt,” Lombardi said. “The people who were responsible for straightening this out … they should be arrested.”
“This isn’t right and it’s not fair, but the town can’t just sit back and allow this to happen,” he continued. “This is for their safety.”
Though Lombardi stressed that the management company is responsible for assisting their residents in finding somewhere to stay, the fire department has called in the American Red Cross to assist.
12 News attempted to reach out to Vista Management by phone several times regarding the situation but was unable to connect.
Canterbury Village residents have until 3 p.m. Tuesday to pack up their belongings and vacate the premises, according to the eviction notice.