PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Kimberly Goodwin can’t believe she’s finally getting out of the rundown motel room she’s shared with her three children for more than a year.
Goodwin lived in the Travel Inn Motel, located at 7532 U.S. 19 in New Port Richey.
Goodwin contacted 8 On Your Side when she couldn’t get issues at the motel fixed. The day after the story aired, police fire and code enforcement showed up at the property.
On Wednesday, the hotel was condemned and residents weren’t forced to move, but were encouraged not to stay.
Corporal Karen Norris says there were numerous violations that made the motel unsafe.
“Fire alarms that weren’t working, none of them in the entire building, we found a hot water heater that was leaking right into the ground,” said Corporal Norris. “There were some issues with the sewage, open sewage. “
On Monday, when we spoke with resident Michael Arnao, he didn’t have any kind words for his home sweet home.
“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. It’s hell. It’s pretty much hell here,” said Arnao. “It’s unlivable. It’s like a third world country I would say, if I had to put it in my best words.”
Goodwin said there are issues with overflowing toilets and on Monday morning, the air conditioning unit in her room went out, leaking water all over her son’s mattress. She claims there are issues with bugs.
“There’s a mold and bed bug problem here,” said Goodwin. “Real bad. “
The property is owned by Dineshbhai and Kailasben Patel. Property records indicate they own 18 other properties in Pasco County. A number of them are roadside motels.
Patel’s son and the motel’s manager declined to comment, but Corporal Norris said they were very cooperative.
“They refunded all of the money to people who had paid ahead,” said Corporal Norris. “They’ve really been cooperative. “
Organizations such as Metropolitan Ministries are helping the residents leaving with temporary housing with the goal to get them into more permanent residences.
Goodwin sat with everything she owns in front of unit 108 for most of Wednesday afternoon. She is just happy that this chapter of her life is over and she can move on to cleaner and nicer surroundings.
“I didn’t think this would happen this quickly. It’s because of Channel 8 that we were able to get out of this place and get to a better place,” said Goodwin. “Solely because of Channel 8 they shed the light on the problem. The city and police came right in and helped out. “