Families forced out of apartments after roof collapse
DAVIE, Fla. (WSVN) -- As many as six families have been displaced after heavy rainfall caused a ceiling to collapse at a South Florida apartment complex.
On Friday morning, residents at the apartment complex on the 3300 block of El Jardin Drive were still waiting for power to be restored to their building. Meanwhile, flooding is an issue for many apartments in the building.
Residents are now dealing with water damage and ruined furniture. "There's water here. I had to throw away the bed, the mattress is full of water," said Nayrobi Pena.
Pena is one of several residents upset with the way property managers are handling this matter. "They're not listening. We called them last night, we told them what was going on, and nobody came," said Pena.
A representative for the apartment complex's management said that they are doing all they can to resolve the problem. "We're doing everything to compensate them," said Alberto Urrechaga of Centennial Management.
When asked why residents' calls were not answered, Urrechaga's response was: "No, what happened is the emergency maintenance didn't answer. At the same we've had people here since 4:00 this morning."
Urrechaga blamed the roofing company who had a crew repairing the roof before the rain came. He said workers did not bother to cover gaping holes while the roof was under repair and left the holes uncovered overnight Thursday. "We hired a roofing company from the City of Davie," he said. "They got a permit and everything. They failed to cover up the building, so it's not our responsibility. We're here with our crew because of what's going on, but they failed to do what they had to do."
Asked whether he felt any responsibility to the residents living in an inhabitable dwelling on the property his company manages, Urrechaga responded, "Well, we're working to get them out of here and the Red Cross is also, but they have a choice to stay there. They don't have to stay."
A blue tarp currently covers holes in the roof to prevent further damage.
Officials said the inclement weather on Thursday caused structural damage and leaks at the apartment building. A sizable portion of ceiling panels and insulation in a third floor unit fell to the floor completely. "I'm disappointed, it's my stuff," said Ingrid Vazquez, the owner of the unit. "I'm a single mother, I'm disabled, I come with three kids. Don't even look at me, look at my apartment."
Vazquez said she was cooking when the ceiling collapsed. "There's food still on the stove. My daughter's in the room, and she's like, 'Mom, it's raining in the room,' and I'm like, 'What do you mean? It's raining outside,'" said Vazquez. "And she says, 'No, it's raining in the room,' and she's 4 years old. There's a hole in the ceiling, so me and my cousin and my niece started picking up stuff, because it gets flooded downstairs really fast."
There is leaking in several other units. The apartment complex's manager has given $150 to each of the affected tenants, so they can seek alternate lodging for the next couple of nights while their units are repaired. "They want me to come out $150. I live in housing. Where am I going to come up with a $150 to go stay somewhere and get reimbursed?" questioned Vazquez. "It's unbelievable how people really are."
The Red Cross is working with the building's management to assist with cleanup efforts while displaced residents stay with friends and family. The representative of Centennial Management insists his company will do whatever it has to in order get the tenants shelter.
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