State Marshal's Office is shutting down Kunkel Square Apartments - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Fire Marshal's Office shuts down Kunkel Square Apartments

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The State Fire Marshal's Office is shutting down Kunkel Square Apartments, at least for now.

There is a sign on the outside of the building, which is at 4th and Main in Downtown Evansville, that says tenants must be out by 6 p.m. Tuesday.

It's been a love-hate relationship for Brandon Gayle ever since he moved into the Kunkel Square Apartment Building one month ago.

"Rent here, too much. Too much. I've got a nice place up there. River view," said Gayle. 

When asked how much he's paying he replied, "1,200."

He says just days ago, he had to be rescued by the fire department after being trapped inside the building's elevator on the 6th floor. Now, he learns the building's fire alarm isn't up to code.

"I'm going to have to move out, find us another place to stay. Get our money back," said Gayle.

Gayle isn't the only one. He's just one of the building's 13 or so tenants who began moving in around the beginning of March.

"They moved people in before all the things were done," said Building Commissioner Ben Miller.

Miller says the Kunkel Group, the developers of the complex, allowed tenants to move in before final approval was ever given to the building.

"The approvals were not all the way met," said Miller.

Miller says this came to light when the Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission met last week and reviewed recent inspection reports.

"They need to upgrade the fire alarm to another level and there's some sprinkler things that have to be taken care of. They also have to do some work on the stairways," said Miller.

Chuck Harper with The Kunkel Group declined an on-camera interview but said on the phone that crews are in the process of making those upgrades and they should be finished in a matter of days. He says the building did pass a series of inspections, but wouldn't comment on the allegations that tenants were allowed to move in before final approval was granted.

Now, residents like Gayle are demanding their money back.

"If this place was not up to good standards, we should," said Gayle.

Another inspection will need to be done once those upgrades are completed. The Kunkel Group says it will put tenants up in local hotels until they're allowed back in.

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