More bad news for residents of Sacajawea Apartments in Pasco

More bad news for residents of Sacajawea Apartments in Pasco
PASCO, Wash. -- KEPR is continuing to follow the fire that left hundreds homeless this weekend in. Now the city says there's no way anyone at the Sacajawea Apartments can live there.

Tenants were lining up to speak with the owner about the next steps they'll take. All of their leases were terminated. They planned to picket but the city said they needed a permit 30 days in advance. That's got people even more upset.

Under the charred building that used to be their homes, hundreds of people signed off on the notice that says they can no longer live at the Sacajawea Apartments. They've been without a home since the building caught fire Saturday.

"I'd like to see them step up and make sure people aren't living in the mission or underneath a tree or in their car," says former manger Billie Vinson.

A couple floors have heavy smoke damage. But the city says it's enough that everyone must stay out. Billie used to manage the building, but now that there's nothing to manage she says she's been let go.

"I sat out here for days on end and making sure the building was safe and people were able to get their stuff, but I'm not going to stop. I'm still going to help people find houses. Just because I'm not hired by her, I still care for all the tenants," she says.

The big problem is air quality. Pasco says it isn't safe to be anywhere in the Sacajawea complex for more than 15-minutes. People are upset with the building's owners but they say they their hands are tied.

"I understand, because they have their home here, I don't blame them to be upset. This situation, nobody wants this to happen," says owner Linda Guo, who owns the complex with her husband.

She tells me they're doing everything they can to help the tenants back on their feet.

"I just returned their full deposit. I'm returning one third of their rent to them so they can settled. So they can go to another apartment to pay deposit and move in," she says.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at Pasco High and dozens of people are staying there.

"They haven't even gone down to where everyone is staying at the gymnasium one time and expressed their empathy for us," Billie added.

Tenants are frustrated with the situation overall but it seems there's not much the owners can do now that the Sacajawea Apartments are unsafe for anyone to live.

"All the sudden I got all this stuff to do and it's gonna cost all this money...I don't know what to do," says resident Shawn Graham.

We spoke with workers from the Red Cross who now expect the number of people staying at the shelter at Pasco High School to go up substantially.

Meanwhile, the owner of the apartment building says thinks it will be at least six months before repairs are made. She says tenants whose leases were terminated today will be first on the list to get back in.