Apartment condemned, 12 families displaced

Chief: North Vernon building not up to code

Twelve families in North Vernon have been displaced from their homes because of multiple fire code violations at an apartment building.

North Vernon Fire Chief Mike Cole followed up on several fire code complaints in late October at the building, 7 N. Madison Ave.

He found that those complaints were substantiated, and forwarded his investigative findings to the state fire marshal’s office, according to a North Vernon Police Department news release.

Investigators from the state fire marshal’s office made an on-site investigation Monday at the aging apartment building. The investigators found violations gross enough that the building could no longer be used as a full-time residential structure, according to the news release.

The state fire marshal’s office tried to reach an agreement for moving time with the building’s owner, but no agreement could be reached. Consequently, the building was condemned immediately.

The city has activated both city and community-based resources, and has contacted the Red Cross to assist displaced families.

“My biggest concern is for the safety of the families that live in the city and prevent a possible tragedy,” North Vernon Mayor Michael Ochs said.

General questions or offers of assistance should be directed to the mayor’s office by calling 812–346–3789.

Questions about the fire code violations should be directed to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security Public Information Office by calling John Erikson at 317-234–4214.

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.