HARVEY, Ill. - Tenants at a Harvey apartment building had the unthinkable happen – their doors and windows were boarded shut and some became trapped inside.
The City of Harvey spoke out Saturday afternoon after several social media videos surfaced, spiking concerns for residents at 14445 and 14437 S. Halsted Street.
According to a cell phone video obtained by FOX32, Rudolph Williams could be heard speaking while he was trapped inside his boarded-up apartment.
"I didn't hear anybody knocking on doors," Williams said.
His pleas for help are now viral on TikTok.
Now, non-occupancy orders are posted on more than 30 units.
The apartment windows and doors were boarded up Friday afternoon. Residents say at least five families were still inside their units with their belongings.
City officials say the property has been under investigation since Oct. 2023, and that Harvey Police have performed safety inspections and wellness checks.
"Contrary to recent claims, the city did not evict anyone from these properties but has communicated with the property owners regarding the unsafe conditions of the buildings and need to immediately rectify the dangerous living conditions," city officials said in a statement.
On Aug. 22, the property owners were urged to hire a structural engineer to assess damages and they had two weeks to complete the task.
Then, on Oct. 17, the city says they spoke with the property owners again about structural issues and collapsed stair raisers.
They also discussed the numerous 911 calls they received for "illegal acts" that occurred at the property. Details on what those illegal acts were have not been released.
Another resident, Mary Brooks, has lived in her apartment for four years. She's currently battling metastatic breast cancer and her boxes are already packed, but she doesn't have a place to go.
"I've been looking for an apartment and house that I can rent section 8, but what else can I do? I can't make any plans," Brooks said.
Harvey Alderman Tyrone Rogers also spoke out on the incident, saying it's "not okay, under no circumstances" for the residents to become trapped, but wouldn't say who ordered crews to move forward.
On Jan. 16, Cook County's Housing Authority said it is working with some residents to find new homes.