By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There is new information on the extent of safety problems inside an art and performance space in Station North. Baltimore City inspectors condemned the building just days ago.

WJZ’s Mike Hellgren reports the mayor and housing officials are now detailing serious violations and what’s ahead for those evicted.

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The deputy assistant housing commissioner says it was immediately clear the building was not safe for anyone to be inside.

The owner met with housing officials Thursday to see what can be done to at least get the first floor open as soon as possible.

City inspectors were alarmed at the dangerous conditions they found inside the Bell Foundry, which had been used as an art and performance space for several years. The inspection report WJZ obtained called the building unfit for human habitation.

A top housing official says they had no choice but to condemn the structure.

“It was an imminent danger right away, as evident to the fire department and when housing went back in and did a detailed inspection. The vacate had to happen,” said Katy Byrne, Baltimore City Housing Department.

City officials detailed problems with a makeshift living space on the top floor that did not have beams, problems with the heating system that was not properly ventilated, electrical problems in the building and a lack of proper exits in the basement.

“All of the electricity was a mess,” said Byrne.

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The evictions came days after a fire at a similar art space in Oakland, California killed 36 people, and revelations that city officials there failed to act on numerous warning signs.

“We don’t want any situations like what has happened in California to happen here in Baltimore,” Mayor Catherine Pugh said.

Baltimore’s Bell Foundry had not been inspected since 2010, when it was permitted as an art space. Because people were never supposed to be living in the building, it did not require annual inspections.

In Baltimore, code enforcement hinges on complaints.

“It’s not the first time we’ve done it, it won’t be the last time we’ve done it. All we can do is just make sure that we respond to those complaints. We rely on citizens to tell us what their observations are,” said Byrne.

The mayor insists artists were not targeted.

“We care about our artists’ community. We care about the creativity that they bring to the city — but we also want them to be safe,” Mayor Pugh said.

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The building dates back to the late 19th century.