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‘Carriage House’ apartment building deemed unsafe and unfit for human occupancy

As of last Monday, June 23, the Carriage House apartment building located on the 1300 block of Logan Avenue was deemed an unsafe structure and unfit for human occupancy by Tyrone Borough Code Enforcement Officer James Metzgar.
With the condemnation notice, residents of the apartment building were granted a full week to vacate the premises, but the Tyrone Borough Water Department had orders from the building’s owner, Jason A. Farr of Blakeslee, PA, which is located near the Poconos, to shut off the water to the structure on the sixth day of the given week.
Farr was made aware of the numerous property maintenance violations at the Carriage House found by Metzgar back on April 11, 2008, but Metzgar said that the violations were ignored for over two months.
On June 17, Metzgar performed a second site inspection where he found the most serious of the violations were still unattended, which were located on the rear porch deck surrounding the fire escape. He said the deck and fire escape was in “very poor condition,” and that significant deterioration had occurred on the decking, steps, railing, and joists, causing dangerous conditions that fail to provide a safe means of egress.
Due to Farr’s lack of attention to the violations to bring the structure into compliance with the Tyrone Borough Code, Metzgar was forced to evict the building’s residents for their safety and well-being. Metzgar also found numerous other violations on the premises during his first and second site inspection.
Other violations included: An inordinate amount of rubbish, tires, roofing material, and garbage had accumulated around the dumpster at the rear entrance; numerous sections of brick and color lock siding were missing from the exterior structure and/or deteriorated, exposing the sheathing to the outside elements; the roof covering the rear of the first and second story main structure and overhang was in very poor condition, and the roof drainage was inadequate; numerous windows are cracked causing water to penetrate the interior; numerous egress doors and door jambs were in very poor condition; failure to maintain plumbing fixtures in a sanitary, safe, and functional condition; numerous light fixtures, receptacle outlet covers, and light switch covers were missing and broken; and the tattered carpet covering the interior stairs and landings was in very poor condition causing a hazard.
An attempt to reach Farr for comment by The Daily Herald was unsuccessful by press time today.
Metzgar said that all the violations were hazardous, but some of the violations that were more prominent were the rear fire escape and decking, and the lack of visible smoke alarms throughout the apartment building.
According to Metzgar, Farr was given plenty of notice of the structure’s violations. He said that occupancy of the building will not be permitted until the violations are repaired and/or removed from the structure, and an inspection of the premises is conducted by the borough to ensure compliance with the borough’s building code.
“The condemnation notice is for the welfare and safety of the people,” said Metzgar. “I found no smoke detectors and the inside of the place was a wreck, along with the issues with the back deck and fire escape.”
Farr must acquire an architect or structural engineer to move forward with getting residents back into the building, but Metzgar said that thus far the owner has been unable to secure either. Until then, Farr has been told to board up and secure the building to avoid it becoming an attractive nuisance, which began last week.
The borough feels that the Carriage House’s violations make the structure hazardous in terms of its danger to the life, health, property, and safety of the public, or the occupants of the structure, by not providing minimum safeguards to protect or warn tenants in the event of a fire.
With the building’s unsafe and/or damaged equipment, decayed dilapidation, it is structurally unsafe, and a partial or complete collapse is possible.
The borough will only remove residents of a building when the structure is unsafe because of the degree to which the building is in disrepair or lacks maintenance, is unsanitary, vermin or rat infested, contains filth and contamination, or lacks ventilation, illumination, sanitary or heating facilities or other essential equipment required by the borough code, or because the location of the structure constitutes a hazard to the occupants of the structure or to the public.
“I hope he (Farr) addresses these issues instead of letting the building become an eyesore,” said Metzgar. “My job is to protect the tenants of these unsafe buildings – we’re not the bad guys here.”