Monday, December 9 2013 11:20 PM EST2013-12-10 04:20:31 GMT
Sue Bonham didn't waste any time hugging four firefighters from the Sissonville Volunteer Department Monday night. Nearly one year ago, she said the four men saved her life. "It will be a year on Wednesday
Sue Bonham didn't waste any time hugging four firefighters from the Sissonville Volunteer Department Monday.
A landlord is behind bars and almost 20 people will be without a home come Monday.
Charleston Police and the Charleston Building Commission were investigating the property at 1411 Jackson Street on Thursday, according to Lt. Shawn Williams, with the Charleston Police Dept.
"What we found here was deplorable," Lt. Williams said. He described infestations of roaches, bed bugs, and scavvies.
Lt. Williams said police have responded to thousands of calls to this address involving prostitution and drugs over the past several years.
As police and the commission were investigating drug and building violations Thursday, the landlord of the building, Timothy Stone, 44, of Charleston, arrived and began to argue with the officers.
That's when Lt. Williams said Stone became "belligerent" and brandished a screwdriver before shoving the officers. Police then discovered Stone was carrying a 10-inch switchblade.
Officers arrested Stone, charging him with battery against a police officer, brandishing a weapon, and carrying a concealed weapon.
After an investigation, inspectors condemned the seven-unit property for an "infestation of parasitic insects, no primary source of heat, and various fire hazard violations."
The commission is working to find housing for the 15 to 20 residents who live in the apartments, Lt. Williams said. He added that this condemnation could spur the commission to investigate other properties in the area and other buildings owned by Stone.
Stone rents several properties in Charleston and Boone County, according to Lt. Williams.
Residents said Stone lived on the property from time to time.
Tenants Candise McKean and Brandon Lester live in a one-bedroom apartment upstairs with their two children, ages two and three. McKean is due with her third child on January 27.
McKean and Lester, who pay $485 per month for rent, said they're not surprised police arrested Stone or condemned the building.
"He belongs in [jail]," McKean said.
"He's been ripping people off for years," Lester said. "He's nothing but a con artist."
An acquaintance was able to locate an apartment for the family on the city's West Side on Thursday afternoon, according to the couple. They plan to move in on Sunday.
But just days after residents paid their January rent, many fear they'll never see that money again.
"We have no way to get the money back," Lester said. "Most of the people here live month by month....and the [landlord] takes advantage of it pretty much."
McKean said she filed a civil lawsuit against Stone before inspectors condemned the building. The hearing is scheduled for later this month.
She and her husband describe Stone as a negligent landlord, at best. They claim the family showers and cooks at McKean's mother's house, where the toddlers stay throughout most of the week.
"You don't wanna keep your kids here," McKean said. "I barely let them walk on the floor with shoes on."