VERNON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A former Playboy Club resort in northern New Jersey is in a battle that’s anything but attractive.

Mayor Harry Shortway told WCBS 880’s Ethan Harp the people living on the property now face life-threatening dangers.

“It was worse than I ever imaged,” he said after taking a look inside the eight-story shuttered hotel that once featured playmates and a suite for the late Hugh Hefner.

The conditions for the low income families who now call it home are horrific, according to the mayor.

“Using hot plates to cook their dinners, they put cabinets over the fire detectors, they impede the water sprinkling system. It just was never meant for full time living,” he said. “They built rooms inside rooms. So it really is atrocious.”

The township is trying to force the landlords to evict the tenants, but Shortway said the owners aren’t even charging rent, claiming some 60 people, including kids and infants, are there as squatters.

“Every time there’s a fire alarm in that building, I just cross my fingers and hope to god it’s just a false alarm,” he told Harp.

The battle heads back before a judge next month.

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