Tenants demand answers after partial collapse in Meriden - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Tenants demand answers after partial collapse in Meriden

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  • Dozens displaced after wall collapse at Meriden building

    Dozens displaced after wall collapse at Meriden building

    Thursday, January 16 2014 10:49 AM EST2014-01-16 15:49:34 GMT
    Dozens of people were displaced after a wall partially collapsed at a Meriden building on Wednesday morning, and now officers are keeping watch over the condemned building to ensure looters don't get in."AroundMore >
    Dozens of people were displaced after a wall partially collapsed at a Meriden building on Wednesday morning, and now officers are keeping watch over the condemned building to ensure looters don't get in.More >
MERIDEN, CT (WFSB) -

Dozens of tenants, who were displaced after a partial collapse at their apartment complex, said the building owner isn't the only one to blame.

The collapse at a building on East Main Street in downtown Meriden on Wednesday afternoon remains under investigation.

Earlier this week, city officials said the property owner was sent a letter last year in which building inspectors found numerous cracks, a bulge and signs of deterioration on the rear wall during an inspection.

Another letter sent on Oct. 31 gave the owner five days to hire an engineer to take a closer look and submit a report.

Bill Lussier, who is the building official for Meriden, told Eyewitness News that he never got that report.

Eyewitness News asked more questions to city officials on Friday. Eyewitness News tracked down Lussier's boss, DominickCaruso with the city planning office.

Eyewitness News wanted to find out why the city did not put more pressure on the owner after not getting the report.

Caruso explained Lussier talked to the owner's structural engineer on Nov. 18 and was assured he would get a report after the holidays. But even a couple of weeks after the holiday, there still was no report.

"They should have put a lien on the building and did it themselves and make sure these tenants are safe and they failed to do that," said tenant Tina Girouard.

The man, who police say works for the property manager, was at the building on Friday while the dozens of tenants without a place to live grabbed some of their belongings. He would not answer questions from Eyewitness News about the letters from the city and said he had no comment.

Meriden Mayor Manny Santos said the city tries "really hard to avoid incidents like these."

"Every time we have an incident such as this, it's an opportunity for the city to review our procedures. We strive for continuous improvement, especially as it pertains to safety for our citizens," Santos told Eyewitness News.

City officials are paying to help all the residents re-locate and they will be going after the building owner to recoup the money.

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