The residents of an extended-stay motel in Godfrey have been ordered to vacate while the village seeks to tear down the dilapidated building.
Madison County Circuit Judge David Dugan ordered owners Harjeet and Harbinderkaur Singh to get all the tenants out of the Hiway House in Godfrey, according to the Alton Telegraph. The Singhs also live there and will be permitted to stay for now.
Godfrey village officials and the Illinois Department of Public Health testified at the two-day trial that the building is structurally unsafe, unsanitary and unfit for occupancy. The IDPH inspector said she was “overwhelmed” by the smell of mold, and found bed bugs, roaches and hiding places for rats and mice, as well as a hole in the wall.
Godfrey Fire Chief Eric Kambarian testified that he found a unit without fire alarms and full of lumber, flammable liquids and other combustibles.
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The Hiway House last received an occupancy permit from the village in 2015. Previous news reports indicate that the motel has had bare wiring and unsupported concrete porches on the second floor. In 2016, the fire chief found that the smoke alarms had been disconnected and gave the owners 24 hours to reconnect them or evacuate, according to news reports.
The building has been condemned for more than a year but was still occupied as of the trial date. In one week, Godfrey police responded to a fatal drug overdose, multiple drug arrests, property disputes and thefts, according to the Alton Daily News.
Dugan did not rule on whether the village can demolish the building, but said he felt the danger was high enough that the building should be evacuated.