Power cut off to Ralston Tower as last residents removed from the downtown Columbus apartment building

Ralston Towers

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – After weeks of trying to get the last residents out of the downtown Ralston Towers apartment building, Georgia Power crews and a Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team were on the scene the morning of Aug. 5.

Multiple sources tell News 3 that power to the low-income housing facility was being disconnected after months of non-payment. The total amount due is not yet known.

The Sheriff’s deputies are clearing the facility as power is cut off. Georgia Power also brought a special crew from Atlanta to disconnect power to the 278 unit complex. Deputies entered the building around 9:40 a.m., working to clear it room by room and starting at the top of the building.

A member of the Special Response Team was carrying a battering ram that could be used to force open doors.

One deputy who had been inside the building came out and said that the temperatures inside were higher than 95 degrees and approaching 100 degrees in some places.

The family of former Ralston resident Charles Hart won a $125 million wrongful death lawsuit last July against the owners of the building after he died in a room that was nearly 100 degrees.

For years, the building has been unsafe and unsanitary as the owners, PF Holdings of New Jersey, have refused to keep up the 106-year-old building.

Early this year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development took away the federal Section 8 housing vouchers it had been paying to PF Holdings. The vouchers covered rental costs for the vulnerable residents inside.

Since that time, teams from HUD and the Housing Authority of Columbus have been working to relocate the residents. There were about 150 people living inside when that process began. News 3 was told there were less than 10 last week, some of them refusing to leave.

News 3 will have more on this throughout the days as this breaking story develops.

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