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West Side Tenants Get Short Reprieve In Eviction Battle

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Derrick Blakley Derrick Blakley
Derrick Blakley is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Move or get evicted. That’s the choice for dozens of residents in a West Side building.

The fire department says is too dangerous to live in. They escaped getting thrown out today, but CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley says, the clock is ticking.

At Kedvale and Roosevelt, this was supposed to be eviction day.

Residents ordered out of a 26-unit slum that inspectors call a firetrap.

Broken plaster on the walls and broken fire alarms chiming a symphony of danger.

“There wouldn’t be any fire alarm system to notify the tenants, there wouldn’t be any fire extinguishers to put out the fire,” said city attorney Judy Frydland.

But the impoverished residents fought back in court arguing they just learned of the eviction notice on Friday.

“I’m worried about the fire hazards, too. But right now we don’t have anywhere to go or anything,” said tenant Keesha Wilkins.

“If they wanted us out, they should have let us know ahead of time,” said tenant Edith Rogers.

What they need, they said, is time. A housing court judge granted that; one more week to move, and a thousand dollars in assistance for leaseholders.

Some call it a reprieve. Asked what her biggest fear was, resident Magadele Ruffub responded,” To get set out in four or five days, without any help from anyone.”

Others, resigned to reality. Asked if it was enough time to move, tenant Jimmy Kincade said, “It’s gonna have to be. It’s really not, but it’s gonna have to be.”

City attorneys say they’re sympathetic to the residents’ plight, but they’d feel a lot worse if someone was injured or killed in a fire.

The fire department rarely seeks to vacate a building, which tells you it considers the conditions at 1200 South Kedvale simply atrocious.

A judge will review the situation again on Tuesday.

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