A court has ordered the owners of a high-rise apartment building in Revere, Massachusetts, to offer temporary housing for five residents after a fire damaged part of the building and started a contentious legal battle between the city and those owners.
More than 100 people were driven from their homes after a fire at the Water’s Edge apartments on Ocean Avenue in June. Some tried to move back in, but were told to leave after the building was condemned by the city, declared “unfit for human habitation.”
The city has said that Carabetta Company, which owns the building, had safety violations on the property and was not doing its duty to help its residents following the fire.
City officials, including Mayor Brian Arrigo, said they have been working with displaced residents to find them suitable housing. The city filed for injunctive relief on behalf of five residents who are still without a safe place to live.
Displaced residents say they have not received any help from the Carabetta Company, which owns the building.
In court documents, it states that some of the issues that prompted the city to condemn the building were caused by water damage at the time of the fire, but that others “clearly predated the fire,” including a failure to replace a non-compliant fire alarm system noted in February 2021, a leaking fire pump and corroded fire pump frame, non-fire-rated decks and railings, inoperable fire doors and other safety issues.
“There is significant evidence suggesting that the extent of the damages could have been mitigated if Water’s Edge had maintained its fire systems in accordance with the applicable code requirements,” the court noted.
“This order is a step in the right direction and a win for our residents,” said Mayor Arrigo. “The City of Revere will continue to take every legal action available to hold the Carabetta company accountable for their continued disregard for their properties and tenants,” Arrigo wrote in a media statement.
The company was also ordered to hire an outside project manager for life safety and remediation efforts at the property.
A hearing on the case is scheduled for Sept. 8, 2022.
The management company has previously issued a statement to NBC10 Boston that states that they “…diligently pursued all efforts to repair this building, even without the full cooperation of various city officials, and will seek to do so, until all repairs have been made. .. We understand how challenging this has been for our residents and are committed to…get(ting) them back into the building as quickly as possible.”