About 80 tenants evacuated from a New Haven apartment last week just want to go back home.
The building on Norton Street is well over 100 years old, and tenants were forced to leave last Thursday over fears that it could collapse.
“We just want answers right now,” said Jesenia Reyes.
On Monday, firefighters and staff from New Haven’s Livable City Initiative were at the building, escorting families inside, allowing them to spend about 15 minutes to grab what they could and get out.
Reyes said the past few days since her family and others were evacuated, hasn’t been easy.
“We don’t want to be in the hotel. It’s too hectic, four adults, three children, its hectic. All cramped up. I had to buy an air bed,” Reyes said.
The city ordered an emergency evacuation after an inspection and then a structural engineer noticed a number of red flags down in the basement, making them fearful parts of the building could collapse.
“Ceiling leaks, saggy-ness of the floors, looks like you’re walking sideways, very bad down there,” Hicks said.
Property management said they’ve put tenants up in local motels along with giving them pre-paid credit cards for food and essentials. They’re also helping relocate them to new apartments.
“We’re going to do some exploratory demolition, going to see how far the problem goes and the solution is right now get it fixed as quickly as possible,” said Christopher Randazzo, property maintenance manager.
That will also include putting in some temporary supports, so tenants can move out their furniture, but for now, anything big like that, will have to wait
“There is no way, from a public safety standpoint, there is no way that we’re going to jeopardize the integrity of that building or jeopardize someone going in there and getting hurt,” said Rick Fontana, of New Haven Emergency Management.
The families say they understand, they just hope it happens soon.
According to New Haven’s building department, they haven’t had any major structural issues with this building before last week.
The building, which is more than one hundred years old, has had four fires since 1976, and in 1999 the fire escapes were repaired.
The city says if people weren’t able to get down on Monday to get in for a few minutes, get some belongings, documents, and medicine, they can reach out The Livable City Initiative to schedule a time to do so.
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