Owners fix remaining units at Ralston Towers; now in compliance with the city

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Representatives from Ralston Towers and Columbus Building and Code inspectors met again in Recorder's Court on Wednesday to resolve violations found in several units inside the historic property.

On Feb. 7, city code inspectors told an Environmental Court judge they cited the building's landlord and management 24 times; one for each unit without sufficient heating. In that hearing, inspectors could only confirm 20 of the 24 units were in compliance.

As of Wednesday morning, Travis Hargrove, an attorney representing PF Holdings LLC - the owner of Ralston Towers - told the judge all 24 units had been repaired and are up to code; inspectors confirmed the units' status.

As a result of this compliance, the judge ordered Ralston's owners, through their attorney - to pay a $250 fine by March 7 or risk another court-ordered appearance.

"All we want is compliance," building and code director John Hudgison said in an interview after the hearing. "We would like people to just have standard living conditions."

Inspectors received calls of issues inside the tower's units the first weekend of January 2018.

By Jan. 4, they found several units in the towers unable to generate heat; and at one point, inspectors said all residents lost access to hot water.

Hudgison appeared before Columbus City Council, informing it of the units violating the temperature threshold of a minimum of 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

The inspection forced Mayor Teresa Tomlinson to evacuate tenants living in those units, placing them in a local motel at the property owner's expense.

Hudgison also said both his department and Columbus Fire have inspected Ralston and determined their fire alarm system is up to date with modern standards and codes. Last month, fire officials acknowledged the towers' management installed a new fire alarm system, replacing one dating back to the 1940's.

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