16 people found living in hazardous conditions in Fresno home

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Fresno Police found 16 people living in a rundown home in the Tower District. (KFSN)

Fresno Police found 16 people living in a rundown home in the Tower District. The conditions were so bad, code enforcement boarded up the house and forced everyone to leave.

On Wednesday, officers followed up on complaints of drug sales and showed up to serve a search warrant.

Sgt. Chris Desmond said, "The house has been chopped up pretty good."

He says there were no drugs inside but officers did find 16 people living in squalor and paying rent for small spaces so code enforcement was called in.

"It's just extremely unsanitary," Sgt. Desmond added, "one of the ladies living in the living room has five small dogs."

Police say there were originally four bedrooms in the house but more "rooms" were added. People were living in closets and in the garage.

"It's very disgusting-- they don't seem to mind. I don't know why anyone would want to live like that," Sgt. Desmond said.

Code enforcement says there was no running water, the basement was flooded, sewage was seeping out of the pipes, the walls were covered in mold and electricity was running through a bypassed meter.

Patricia Zamorano who lives nearby says her neighbors were also messy and noisy.

"Six months have been awful for us because we don't sleep," Zamorano said.

She says some of the same people kept her up when they were squatting in a home a few doors down, "they tore up that other house too, it was well kept until they came in."

With all the violations, roughly 25 of them, the city decided to board up the house and it was deemed unsafe for occupancy. The people were forced to leave and they went their separate ways. Two of them, however, went to jail for outstanding warrants.

As for how the home got to this point, code enforcement believes the homeowners walked away from it, their son moved in and he opened it up to everyone else.

The city says the property owner will have to bring the house up to code or face citations. Until then, nobody is supposed to live there but a neighbor says eight people have already gone back and they broke in through the front door.

Related Topics:
evictionfresnohazmatfresno police departmentFresno - Tower District
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