Motel shut down for numerous violations; about 70 people left without a home

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DENVER— Vicky Stone tears up at the idea of having to move for the second time in about a month, but she likely doesn’t have a choice.

On Thursday, Denver’s Motel Task Force shut down the Western Motor Inn on Vasquez Boulevard because of several violations.

A news release cites health, safety and fire violations, including structural and electrical issues, bedbugs and nonfunctioning smoke detectors.

For people who call the motel home, they point to issues with mice, holes in the ceiling and water not working properly.

“I have a toilet that you have to put water in on your own to flush it,” resident Christopher Williams said.

The task force is made up of several public agencies, including Denver Police and Fire Departments, Community Planning and Development, Public Health and Environment and the city attorney’s office.

The task force oversaw the property owner install new smoke detectors as a start, but changes weren’t made fast enough to allow the roughly 70 people who call the motel home to stay.

Contractors put up padlocks on the doors, posting signs saying it wasn’t safe to stay.

“We're able to ensure that the people that stay here will have every degree of safety that they deserve,” said Capt. Greg Pixley with Denver Fire Department.

For some, the timing couldn’t be worse.

“I just gave her all my rent money. I don’t get any of my money back,” Williams said. “People that are actually doing good, and working and paying their rent are actually getting thrown out on the streets tonight.”

The property owner would not comment on the situation other than to say she’s working as fast as she can to get the motel to acceptable standards as deemed by the city.

Until then, the city is putting up 17 people in hotels for the night.

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