Occupants of aging Niantic hotel forced out when power shut off

East Lyme — Town officials helped to relocate as many as 30 tenants of The Elms Hotel who were displaced Friday following a power loss and a ruling by the town’s fire marshal that the century-old building was unfit for occupancy.

East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica said he joined police, building officials and personnel from the fire marshal’s office at the Ocean Avenue building when they were alerted power had been shut off.

Formica said there are about 20 rooms in the building, used by some as a permanent residence. Those without vehicles were shuttled to the Niantic Motel, where they have taken up temporary residence. The owner of The Elms, Jude Cleary, was among the occupants forced to move out, Formica said.

Along with the power loss, Formica said the fire marshal has identified code violations that will need to be addressed before the business is reopened. The building has been in disrepair for several years.

The hotel was boarded up by the end of the day, and Formica said police will provide security throughout the weekend and also inform any occupants arriving home about what had happened.

“It’s simply not fit in its present condition for people to rent. The town has a responsibility when a place like this is deemed unfit,” Formica said. “We had an inclination this was coming. We secured the rooms in the event it happened.”

In addition to further conversations with the landlord, Formica said he intends to stay in contact with any social service agencies that may be needed for additional support of the occupants.

Cleary could not be reached for comment.


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