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After bats removal, residents cleared to return home

Due to a significant accumulation of bats at the apartment complex at 600 Powers Avenue in Buford the Gwinnett County Board of Health has declared the building unsafe to live in. The American Red Cross assisted the families with hotel arrangements on Thursday night.

Due to a significant accumulation of bats at the apartment complex at 600 Powers Avenue in Buford the Gwinnett County Board of Health has declared the building unsafe to live in. The American Red Cross assisted the families with hotel arrangements on Thursday night.

BUFORD -- Fourteen people who were displaced from their homes because of a bat infestation in a Buford apartment complex were cleared to return home on Monday afternoon.

On Thursday, the Gwinnett County Public Health Department declared the building an "imminent health hazard" after bats were discovered in the attic of the complex, and in several units, according to Gwinnett Animal Control. Spokeswoman Karen Shields said the Health Department wouldn't lift the hazard until all of the bats "were removed and proper controls were put in place to prevent the bats' reentry."

Eight adults and six children were impacted by the evacuation, and Shields said those who live in the apartments were assessed and referred to Gwinnett Medical Center for further evaluation. Shields said close neighbors were interviewed by Gwinnett Animal Control regarding the presence of any bats in their building. No additional residents were found to be affected.

A notice from the Gwinnett County Board of Health attached to a tenant's door at the Power Avenue address said there is "a significant accumulation of bats on the property."

Hotel arrangements were made for residents on Thursday night, and they stayed at a local faith-based organization for the rest of the weekend. The American Red Cross, Gwinnett County Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Family and Children Services helped those who were displaced, Shields said.