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Health violations fixed, house fit for occupancy

Springfield woman says friends, neighbors help get her home up to code.

A Springfield home deemed uninhabitable by county health officials has been cleared for occupancy.

Homeowner Jody Apone said learning her Oak Street home was riddled with health violations was just her latest issue in a stream of problems. The 38-year-old was indicted last year in connection to the death of her friend Curtis Miller. Those charges were later dismissed.

When city code enforcers and inspectors with the Clark County Combined Health District put a placard on her house stating no one could live there until the issues were fixed, she said she took immediate action.

“I never left,” she said. “They said we just couldn’t sleep here. We didn’t sleep, we worked.”

The house was cited for not having adequate plumbing to toilets and sinks. In many cases, garden hoses were run to bathrooms to provide water. There wasn’t a furnace to provide heat to all rooms, and several sewer pipes were uncapped, allowing ignitable gases to seep into the home that could cause an explosion or health issues.

Investigators also found feces from the 60 cats and five dogs living there. The Clark County Humane Society determined the cats were healthy and well taken care of. The excrement was cleaned up, and the animals were temporarily moved while repairs were made, Apone said.

Just like the cats Apone took in from the streets, she said her home is a “rescue” she saved from demolition. Built in the 1800s, she’s been restoring it one project at a time. But she admitted she became overwhelmed.

“It’s a 20-room house, and we’re restoring it on a poor man’s budget,” she said.

That’s why friends and neighbors pitched in to fix the problems. About 40 sheets of drywall were hung on the exposed walls and Apone said she capped 12 sewer pipes on the property. Proper water lines were run to sinks and toilets. Apone said neighbors bought her a new furnace that will provide sufficient heat for the entire structure.

Health inspectors returned to the house Friday and determined all the issues had been resolved, said spokeswoman Anita Biles.

Knowing there’s still years of work to be done, Apone said she’s glad the violations are fixed. She’s also glad inspectors helped her prioritize safety hazards.

“A lot of the suggestions they gave were things that had never dawned on me that for my own safety and the animals’ safety needed to be done, and I didn’t have a clue,” she said.

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