Olbiston residents can start moving back in Wednesday


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Dozens of the burned-out tenants of Utica's Olbiston apartment complex learned Friday that they can start moving back into their apartments on Wednesday.

"I can't be any happier with the news that they gave us today with us getting back in," said resident Ethel Creighton. "I'm one of the happiest tenants there."

The tenants attended an informational meeting Friday - one week after an early morning fire displaced all of the building's residents - with state and local leaders and social service agencies held at the Resource Center for Independent Living in downtown Utica.

Many say the past week of homelessness has been quite taxing on their families-especially their children.

"My son has missed schooling at UCP for speech and kids are being brought from motel to motel," said tenant Jennifer Winters.

While the residents can start moving back in Wednesday, an insurance adjuster hired by the building owner says he won't know until the end of next week when all the residents will be back in.

"Right now, cleaning has started," says Richard Smith, of Adjusters International. "There's a professional cleaning company that's started cleaning. We've made arrangements to have the passenger elevator inspected so that can be put back in operation,"

Smith says there are safety issues to be addressed as well.

"The fire department has requested that we implement a security company starting Wednesday when the tenants come in, until the time we're able to get emergency lighting and exit signs installed in the building."

Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito organized the multi-agency meeting.

"The most important thing that I do is make sure that the quality of life for the people I represent is there and this is a prime example of that," Destito said.

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