Unstable roof forces families to evacuate apartment building
LAWRENCE, Mass. (WHDH) -- Dozens of families were evacuated from a Lawrence 30-unit apartment building Monday because the roof was in danger of collapsing.
A structural engineer was brought in to assess the condition of the roof after residents noticed water leaking from the ceiling. “We have nowhere to stay, we have to stay at a friend’s house, you know? ‘Cause we don’t like being in a shelter,” one resident said.
A danger warning was posted on the front door, a surprising greeting to some Lawrence families who were heading home after work on Monday.
“It’s very difficult for us, it took me by surprise,” said Ramon Rojas, who was evacuated from his home.
Ramon Rojas lives on the second floor of the Lawrence apartment building. There are about 30 units inside; everyone was evacuated because the fire department said the roof was in danger of collapsing. Apparently an engineer came in after some families noticed water leaking from the ceiling after the weekend's blizzard. The structural engineer determined the roof was unstable and unsafe for people to be in the building.
Ramon said you can see bowing on the inside ceiling.
“The walls are going to be separated because they are going to push,” said Rojas.
The families have no idea when they'll be allowed home or if they'll be allowed home. The Red Cross opened a shelter, but not everyone wants to use it.
Some residents were staying at the shelter at a nearby school, but others chose to stay with friends or relatives.
“Real bad, no place to stay, have to stay in a friend’s house because we don't like being in a shelter,” said Angel Almanza.
“With 3 kids going to school tomorrow, my wife and me, we have to work tomorrow so it's very, very difficult,” said Rojas.
Of the family displaced, five took the Red Cross up on their offer for shelter.
A building inspector was due back out here at some point Tuesday. Residents wasted no time. They were getting what they could from the home to load up and move on with their lives. A fire detail was on hand all to make sure everybody was safe as they moved in and out of the building. Throughout the evening they had to pump water out because water was pretty much pouring through a portion of the roof overnight.