• Apartments where wall collapsed had hundreds of previous code violations, records show

    By: Steve Gehlbach

    Updated:

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - An apartment building where part of a wall collapsed earlier this week has been cited for hundreds of previous code violations, records show. 

    Large pieces of wood came crashing down just feet from where children were playing at The Park on Candler in DeKalb County.

    Ciera Bennett said an entire upper wall fell Sunday night and landed on the second floor balconies, where Bennett and her 4-year-old cousin had just been standing.

    "Maybe 10 seconds before it happened," Bennett said. "That's when my cousin and I went inside the house and a I heard a 'Boom! Boom!'"

    Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach obtained 13 pages of documents that detail one inspection in 2016 that totaled 265 violations. 

    Page after page of the records lists "failed" violations.


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    Gehlbach learned that one item specifically stated that the walls and roof were damaged where water or moisture could get in and cause rotting or decayed wood. It's exactly what happened when the wall fell earlier this week, according to firefighters. 

    Those violations were incurred under previous owners, but according to the county, the complex still hasn't been fixed and fines are unpaid under new ownership. 

    A group of investors bought the complex at the beginning of 2018. By then it was already on the radar and targeting in a sweep by DeKalb County's multi-family task force that deals with neglected properties. 

    Gehlbach got a statement from current management, blaming lack of attention by previous owners, saying they are currently rehabbing and renovating. 

    "This was not a construction negligence," the company said in the statement. "It was due to the many years of war and tear, which has been our focal point to the other buildings rennovated."

    According to the county, the new owners here were cited again for more violations last year, and they have another court date coming up in August. They will have to be in compliance or pay a fine totaling $90,000. 

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