Entire Merrillville apartment complex deemed unsafe after second evaluation

Merrillville officials who were investigating unsafe conditions at two apartment buildings now say the entire complex is unsafe.

On Tuesday, the Merrillville Fire Department returned to the complex in the 5600 block of South Hayes Street with the Lake County Health Department to complete an analysis of the entire property. 

This comes after the fire department had to vacate two buildings at Hickory Ridge Lake Apartments on June 7 when it was determined that there was a bowed-out wall and apparent mold in the two buildings.

The most recent evaluation found that all buildings in the complex had unsafe or unhealthy conditions, which include structural concerns, the appearance of mold in occupied and unoccupied units, electrical hazards, inaccessible fire extinguishers, missing or inoperable smoke detectors, inoperable fire alarms and a large accumulation of trash in buildings.


A report sent to the Friedman Management Company, which operates Hickory Ridge, requires the company to complete lab testing of the potential mold in the buildings as well as air quality testing. 

The Merrillville Fire Department also instructed the management company to have a structural engineer evaluate the bowed-out brick facade on several buildings and balconies, which appear to be deteriorating or potentially unstable.

Twelve families were evacuated on June 7 and no other residents have been evacuated as a result of the ongoing situation.

Hickory Ridge will be reinspected in 30 days.