REVERE, Mass. — Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo on Thursday filed an emergency request for a court to impose a receivership to help tenants of a high-rise that was condemned after a devastating fire.
The Mayor, DA, and fire chief wouldn’t allow our cameras to go inside as they investigated the current conditions of the high-rise, but they sent us photos showing the damage.
“It was absolutely deplorable,” said Mayor Arrigo. “The level of frustration I can’t really comprehend. I’m so angry. I’m so upset. This organization is acting more like a criminal organization and less like a property management organization.”
The fire, believed to be started by a cigarette at the 370 Ocean Avenue apartment building, caused fire, smoke, and water damage to several floors. Some displaced residents have been living out of their cars since the blaze because they cannot afford a long-term hotel stay or apartment lease.
When inspectional services and health department workers returned to the building after the fire, they found tenants still living there without power and water, and they discovered mold and pre-existing fire code issues, among other problems, the city said.
The city deemed the building, which is owned by the Carabetta family, “unfit for human habitation, displacing 82 residents, some with kids.
“My apartment wasn’t damaged so I don’t understand why I have to leave and they don’t give us an estimated time,” said Andres Ramirez who is now homeless. “It’s very frustrating. What do I do? Where do I sleep? What about my pets? Do I look for a new apartment?”
“They called me today from the city,” said homeless mother Soumia Errhmona. “I have an appointment Tuesday at 10 in the morning. He says he going to help.”
In addition to the filing, the city has also moved to foreclose on all three properties owned by the Carabetta family for outstanding tax title issues. The property owners have $1.9 million in past taxes owed to the city, according to Arrigo.
Arrigo also directed ARPA funding to be used as an emergency fund to assist displaced residents in finding new permanent housing.
“We will take every legal action possible against Carabetta for ignoring their legal obligations and total disregard for human dignity and decency as landowners and property managers in our city,” Arrigo said.
Arrigo plans to hold a meeting for displaced residents next week to update them on the current process and address some of their ongoing concerns he has heard through their work with the city human service agencies and provide resources to support their relocation to new permanent housing solutions.
The city says it will be utilizing emergency funding to help the residents and then collect that money back from the owners by going through court.
We reached out to the property owners but have not yet heard back.
The first hearing is on Wednesday.
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