Twice in Three Days, Residents Rained Out of Hurst Apartment Complex

City alleges history of code violations at the Dakota Place

NBCUniversal, Inc.

For the second time since Saturday, rain poured in through the ceiling of Roger Foggle’s apartment. Ceiling tiles fell in and rain-soaked the furniture in every room of his second-floor apartment at the Dakota Place in Hurst on Tuesday.

“I know it's going to rain the next few days. So now what? What about our furniture? What about our TVs? What about our clothes?” said Foggle.

Saturday, the fire department said a tarp blew off the roof of building four during roof repairs - impacting residents in 11 units.

Foggle, who is staying with family, has been checking on his apartment multiple times a day. He returned during the rainstorm on Tuesday to find his apartment flooded again.

“I really wish the City of Hurst would put pressure on this guy to be a human being,” said Foggle. “It's scary. It's almost like third world country to me.”

Wednesday, city inspectors returned to the property and taped “Do Not Enter” warnings to the doors of 16 apartments. Inspectors told residents they could go in to retrieve their belongings, they but could not stay.

The city of Hurst is already suing the Dakota Place – alleging the owner failed to properly maintain the property. The city noted complaints going back five years and said it has ordered the owner to replace all the roofs on the property.

Charles Mercer, the owner of the Dakota Place, has maintained the city’s enforcement is unfair and increased when he fired a contractor who was recommended by the city inspector.

During the last two rainstorms, Mercer blames roofing contractors for failing to properly secure tarps. He said work was underway to reroof building four, per city orders.

In an email to NBC 5 on Wednesday, Mercer wrote, “No one is more upset than I am, and I understand the city's view. And I feel bad for the tenants. We offered to pay for hotels for tenants.”

Assistant City Attorney Matthew Boyle told NBC 5 the city of Hurst had to retain third-party inspectors, engineers and environmental firms to confirm “serious deficiencies” at the Dakota Place when Mercer denied the existence of the issues.

Boyle wrote in an email to NBC 5, “Based on the storm damage over the weekend, the city mandated that a licensed engineer and licensed electrician be involved in the assessment of the storm damage. The city has dedicated significant resources towards its efforts to force Mr. Mercer to do what he should have done long ago.”

Foggle said he is frustrated and said the blame should be shared by the landlord and the city.

“Now that you know that it's going on, what are you going to do?” said Foggle. “The ball is in your court, Hurst.”

Foggle said he is staying with family for now, but worries about the residents who may not have many options.

“You’ve got elderly over there, you’ve got non-English speaking residents over there. I want to see about them, to make sure they’re alright,” Foggle said.

“I'll be fine,” Foggle added. “I can make a way out of no way, but what about those who don't have a voice?”

Claire Cardona contributed to this report.

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