Sunday, June 28, 2009

Former landlady buys new locks

Got a call from Sasha, the tenant Arise is working with, about nine this morning. Seems the building's former owner had put a new lock on the kitchen door and was telling tenants a new lock would go on the front door, also, to which only she would have a key-- anybody who wanted in or out of the building would have to call her (she also lives there). Sasha said the woman's son had come over and he'd done lock work on the place before.

I got the former owner's number from Sasha and called but it went to voicemail. I told her I was sorry she was losing her house, but that what she was doing was illegal. I called the Fire Department but all they had available on a Sunday was a referral to 911, which I wasn't going to do. I called the Police Department and at first they didn't want to get involved-- said it was a landlord/tenant issue better dealt with by Housing Code on Monday-- but after I explained that the woman was no longer the owner of the building, and had no legal right to do what she was doing, and kept reiterating my fear there would be a fire, they said they would send a cruiser and I expressed my gratitude. The police came, talked to the former owner, and she removed the locks. I expect there will be another salvo later on, but we'll see.

Fire has been on my mind and probably the minds of the police and fire departments because two boys, four and seventeen, died in a house fire in Springfield yesterday. Yesterday morning, firefighters from all over New England in Springfield for a conference attended a ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral for all those who have fallen in the past year.

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