JASPER, Ala. (WIAT) — Brittany Duke and her husband James are just two of the 65 residents who were asked to leave their Super 8 and Budget Inn motel rooms in Jasper Friday morning.
“We literally woke up this morning at 7 o’clock, packing all our stuff not knowing what we’re going to do, where we’re going to go,” Brittany said. “I just need a roof over my head. I lost everything.”
Duke and her husband got a knock on their door from police and the motel management Thursday around 6 p.m. asking them to leave by 9 a.m. Friday morning.
Now the Dukes, along with their two pets, are left without a place to call home. Brittany has started a GoFundMe as they navigate this unexpected situation.
“I get it about the smoke detector thing. I understand it because the rooms are smoking rooms but at the same time that’s not fair to the people like us,” Duke said. “We have nowhere to go, we have no homes.”
Keeping families safe is the number one reason Jasper Fire Chief Dante Fields says it was necessary for the residents to vacate the motels.
“There were major electrical problems and structural damage to the stairwells,” Chief Fields said.
Chief Fields says there were several missing doorknobs, a lack of smoke detectors and eroded stairs creating a fire hazard. He said they received multiple safety complaints which led to the inspection.
“There’s been stories where night clubs everything like that where it’s not up to code. That’s what happens,” Chief Fields said. “You have major fatalities, many injuries and there are children involved.”
In the meantime, those families are relying on the Salvation Army and the Walker County Community Action Agency for shelter overnight.
“We will be doing casework with those individuals and those that we can help find permanent housing we will and also provide other services that the agencies and organizations offer in Walker County,” said Deidre Tatum, the Executive Director of the Walker County Community Action Agency.
In the meantime, many of those residents are staying at the West Side Baptist Church and the Jasper Family Resource Center. Members of the Walker County Community Action Agency and Salvation Army say you can reach out to them via phone at 205-221-7737 if would like to make a donation.