Water problems force evacuation of Oakland tenants

OAKLAND (KRON/BCN) — Tenants of a residential hotel in downtown Oakland have been forced to leave their homes because the water there was deemed unsafe to drink, a city inspector said Friday.

The city placed a red tag notice on the seven-story Empyrean Towers building at 344 13th Street, between Harrison and Webster streets. The notice reads “Unsafe: Do Not Enter or Occupy” and cites “hazardous potable water.”

City officials said the tenants who were living in 57 units of the building were evacuated at 9 p.m. on Thursday because the water problem posed an imminent hazard.

The displaced tenants are being temporarily housed at a Motel 6 in Oakland, according to Gene Martinelli, a specialty combination inspector with the city’s
planning and building department.

The building’s owner has hired a private contractor to put chlorine into the plumbing system, let it sit for 24 hours and then flush it out and re-test for bacteria, according to Martinelli.

The hotel’s owners and attorney couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Officials said the hotel has had problems in the past, but the owners have been trying to improve conditions in recent months and that things had been “moving in a positive direction” until this latest water problem.

Officials said the city hopes to have the problem fixed in the next two days so tenants can return to their homes.

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