Former Funeral Home condemned due to mold

Former Hulse Funeral Home condemned

**11/03/2008, 9:17 am http://s9.addthis.com/button1-bm.gif **
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Tammie Sloup, tammies@mywebtimes.com, 815-431-4048
The owner of a former Ottawa funeral home most recently used as a rental property faces court action regarding the structure, which has been condemned as city officials deemed the home uninhabitable.
In September 2007, tenants at the former two-story Hulse Funeral Home at 805 W. Madison St. complained to the city about mold inside and people becoming sick.
“So we went in there and it was beyond belief,” said Ottawa Building Official Mike Sutfin. “We started in the basement and there was formaldehyde, old caskets, standing water, open wiring; it was a disaster, and it was mold beyond mold.”
City officials warned the owner, Debra Hulse, she needed to bring the residence up to code or the tenants had to move out. At the time, there were at least a dozen people living at the home.
“It’s sad because this house is in the same stature as the Reddick Mansion. It appears it was built in the same era, with the same hand-carved marble fireplaces, and the trim, but it’s a disaster,” Sutfin said.
Hulse did not return phone calls from The Times.
Sutfin said Hulse continued to call him, saying she was working on bringing the home up to code.
“This went on for months,” Sutfin said. “She said she had a tenant who was going to do it for her.”
Then in July, Sutfin said the city received a complaint call from a tenant, and again city inspectors returned to the home.
“It had gotten a lot worse,” Sutfin said. “The ceiling had fallen in the kitchen on the first floor, and that ceiling was on top of their eating area.”
It appeared more people were living at the home, Sutfin said.
“It was a menagerie of people; all ages.”
"At that point, we said, ‘OK, that’s it, everybody out until you get this fixed,’ " Sutfin said. “The people on the first floor moved out, but those on the second floor begged for an extra 30 days.”
When the 30 days were up Aug. 30, city officials returned.
“It looked remarkably better,” Sutfin said. "The first floor was clean and there was nothing in the place. But the ceiling wasn’t repaired and there were large sections of plaster coming down because the roof leaks and it knocked the insulation down.
“And the basement still was not cleaned. But the first floor showed signs of promise.”
City code also mandated a fire alarm system be installed. Sutfin said the materials for such a system were at the home, but it was not installed.
Sutfin at the time said he’d be back in a week, at which time someone moved into the first floor with four dogs, a couple of mattresses and some clothes. Dog feces also was on the floor.
"We went to the basement and we smelled something electrical burning. When we took a look at the panel, there were asbestos all over the place.
“That was enough. We condemned the building (as) unfit and unsafe to live in.”
Sutfin tagged the building on Sept. 5, meaning occupation is prohibited, unless it is for repair or demolition.
Hulse now has a court date Wednesday. At this point, a judge will decide whether the building should be demolished and what fines Hulse may have to pay. Sutfin said the penalties include a minimum $75 to maximum $750 fine per day.

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.comment_header { font-family: arial, helvetica; font-size: 12px; color: #000000; } .comment_tbl { font-family: verdana, arial; font-size: 13px; color: #333333; } .comment_small { font-family: verdana, arial; font-size: 9px; color: #666666; } latest comments on this article
Posted by fathertime from six feet under at 2:20PM on Monday, 11/3/08
Have you noticed that the city seems to only do “select condemnations”?
I wonder who Debbie upset?

Posted by deliah at 2:15PM on Monday, 11/3/08
I don’t understand the opposition to fixing up a property. Does anyone in Ottawa really think the building codes to be that stringent? Is it really that much to ask that when renting out a property that it has working smoke detectors and ceilings that don’t fall down on the tenants heads?

I am sorry that people seem to think that property ownership should come with absolutely no rules. Who cares about tenant/neighbor safety? If the city needs to go over the owners heads so be it! Better than a ceiling falling in and knocking off the owners heads.

If you ask me the city codes in Ottawa are quite lax as it is. I am unsure what the problem is in keeping rental property up to code or with the city enforcing the codes! I see no reason why this property shouldn’t be condemned.

Posted by hirky at 1:41PM on Monday, 11/3/08
im suprised the city and mister building inspector didnt just go over the owners head and have it tore down with no regard to owners and property within??? not like that never happened before.

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[http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/mednailer.php?image=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/photos/mednails/10-26-08_11-01-08/10-31-08/hulsehouse.gif](http://mywebtimes.mycapture.com/mycapture/remoteimage.asp?backtext=Back to Search&backurl=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/ottawa/display.php?id=369707&thumbpath=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/thumbnailer.php?image=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/photos/thumbnails/10-26-08_11-01-08/10-31-08/hulsehouse.jpg&previewpath=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/photos/bignails/10-26-08_11-01-08/10-31-08/hulsehouse.jpg&pricingsheetid=454)**Photo: **
The former Hulse Funeral Home on Madison Street in Ottawa was condemned by the city in September. The home was most recently being rented to tenants, who have moved out since the city tagged the building uninhabitable, due to mold, electrical issues, asbestos and other issues. [http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/mednailer.php?image=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/photos/mednails/10-26-08_11-01-08/10-31-08/hulsephotoone.gif](http://mywebtimes.mycapture.com/mycapture/remoteimage.asp?backtext=Back to Search&backurl=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/ottawa/display.php?id=369707&thumbpath=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/thumbnailer.php?image=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/photos/thumbnails/10-26-08_11-01-08/10-31-08/hulsephotoone.jpg&previewpath=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/photos/bignails/10-26-08_11-01-08/10-31-08/hulsephotoone.jpg&pricingsheetid=454)Photo: Provided
The former Hulse Funeral Home on Madison Street in Ottawa was condemned by the city in September. The home was most recently being rented to tenants, who have moved out since the city tagged the building uninhabitable, due to mold, electrical issues, asbestos and other issues. City officials found a serious lack of cleaning and upkeep of the home. [http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/mednailer.php?image=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/photos/mednails/10-26-08_11-01-08/10-31-08/hulsephoto.gif](http://mywebtimes.mycapture.com/mycapture/remoteimage.asp?backtext=Back to Search&backurl=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/ottawa/display.php?id=369707&thumbpath=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/thumbnailer.php?image=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/photos/thumbnails/10-26-08_11-01-08/10-31-08/hulsephoto.jpg&previewpath=http://mywebtimes.com/archives/photog/photos/bignails/10-26-08_11-01-08/10-31-08/hulsephoto.jpg&pricingsheetid=454)Photo: Provided
Wires are loose and jumbled in the basement of the former Hulse Funeral Home on Madison Street in Ottawa, which was condemned by the city in September