Majority of state-mandated quarantined homes in Carter County still have occupants in them

Published 8:50 am Wednesday, October 23, 2019

After needing to move a Lending Library due to a nearby sex offender, Director of the TLC Community Center Angie Odom said she stumbled onto a serious mishandling of state-mandated quarantines in Carter County.

“There are about 36 homes on the quarantine list,” Odom said. “26 of them are occupied.”

This list comes from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. When police bust a meth lab, the residue from said lab can still pose serious health risks for the residents of said home, so the Dangerous Drug Task Force quarantines the property to allow a hygienist to clean the property. If proof of the cleaning, a Certificate of Fitness, does not reach both the county’s sheriff’s office and clerk’s office within 60 days of the notice, the property will end up on this list.

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“I never knew this list existed,” Odom said.

Out of curiosity, she and a few others took to touring each of the 36 addresses on the list. She said what she saw surprised her enough to create MAP (Monitoring and Protecting) in order to inform the public of what is falling through the cracks.

The vast majority of the addresses, occupied or not, did not have the appropriate stickers or signage notifying passersby the location was even under quarantine. Some of the addresses were even flattened, which she said is still a problem.

“If the property was destroyed, proof is still needed of the removal,” she said.

Odom said she does not intend to point fingers at anyone specific.

“A ball has dropped somewhere,” she said. “We do not know who dropped it or where.”

Odom said she spoke to several state officials, who told her technically the burden of presenting the documents of the completed cleaning to the Sheriff’s Office does fall to the homeowners, but many of these quarantines started years before the current residents took ownership, meaning unless they do a title search online, they may never know their home is on a quarantine list.

“Violating quarantine is a class B misdemeanor,” she said. “You can get up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.”

The said list can be found at on the department of environment and conservation section.

“The state says the Sheriff has to enforce it,” Odom said. “They should go through these homes every now and then. If it is on the list, the property needs stickers.”