Black Mold, Sagging Ceiling Force Storage Facility to Close

By Matt Porter

January 14, 2013 Updated Jan 15, 2013 at 7:14 PM EDT

Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A collapsing ceiling, black mold, and other safety violations have moved the Town of Union to close the Heritage Self Storage Facility.

It's a business that promised to keep tenants' units high and dry, but left renters that way instead.

When Anthony Garcia moved, he expected his stuff held in a space at thew storage business would go with him. But inside his storage unit: A ceiling that was partially collapsed and black mold.

"About 40 percent of what we had in there got lost, and it was all mainly the bigger things," Garcia said. "We had brand new mattresses in there, my mom's, my brother's, and mine. We had more furniture in there like this that the mold got so bad it was actually warping the wood away."

Garcia's family paid Heritage Self Storage about $170 a month for more than two years.

Some things lost were worth more than money.

"Our old sports stuff, even a lot of the pictures and scrap books we had to throw away," he said.

The town closed the facility Friday after responding to two different complaints.

Code enforcement officers found a collapsing ceiling, black mold, exposed wiring, and fire detectors and extinguishers that were not properly inspected.

Daria Golazeski, Union's director of code enforcement, said the damage appeared to be left unattended for months.

She said the ceiling was a disaster waiting to happen.

"Some serious safety concerns with water leaks from the roof causing ceiling issues and mold issues in the building," Golazeski said.

Access to the self storage facility is cut off until repairs are made.

The owner, Brandon Jay Hatch, is based out of Orem, Utah. He has bought and sold several storage facilities.

He said he's the victim of unscrupulous reports to government regulators.

When asked about the facility in Union, Hatch said: "This isn't some slum lord situation. Either the code people aren't trying to make it sound right. There's something funny going on."

The Garcia's said the real estate investor has not reached out to their multiple requests.

"I'm really mad that the owner couldn't call us or contact us or even hear what we had to say about anything," Garcia said, "They just couldn't care at all."

Concerned customers can call the storage facility, although they'll be met with an automated message.

Tenants can also file complaints with the Binghamton Office for the New York Attorney General at 1-607-721-8771 or fill out a complaint form.

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