Everett condemns fire-damaged apartments

EVERETT, Wash. -- Time has run out for the owner of the Hodges Apartment Building in Everett.

The city condemned the brick building on Hewitt Avenue after its owner failed to meet the deadline for repairs.

Charred window ledges and a Christmas greeting remain as a reminder of the December fire that damaged a dozen units in the downtown building. The cause of the fire is still unknown. The medical examiner said a tenant found dead inside died of an overdose.

On Wednesday the City Of Everett said everyone needs to leave because the building doesn't meet code. City Spokesperson Meghan Pembroke said,

"Right now the elevators not working and there are still 12 of the 36 units in the building that have either smoke, fire, or water damage from the fire," said city Spokesperson Meghan Pembroke.

Workers near the apartments say that's not the only problem inside.

"The traffic in the building hasn't slowed down at all, it's actually increased," said one construction worker. He said people are coming and going at all hours despite locks on the front doors. He said they tap on windows, toss rocks or shout by the fire escape and wait for someone to open doors.

Owner Peter Sikov said he doesn't know who was inside the building. He said there was just one tenant left at the time of the building's condemnation. Sikov said he's prepared to work with an insurance company to spend a million dollars repairing his building. But Sikov said he's concerned Snohomish County will threaten eminent domain and buy up his block, expanding its courthouse onto his property. He has another lot a few doors down that was an apartment building but was destroyed in a fire last November.

Sikov said he'd like an extension from the City so he can get clarity on the county's intensions.

"In this case, the property owner had a significant amount of time to fix those and at this time the issues haven't been remedied," Pembroke said.

She said tenants can reoccupy once the building meets maintenance codes.