Apartment ceiling collapses overnight

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Sixteen units from Building A at the Cedarwood Apartment Complex in the 3800 block of Chamberlayne Avenue in Richmond's North Side are evacuated early this morning.

Dozens of people are forced out their homes, after ceilings in several of those units collapses onto the ground.

It happened around 3 a.m. this morning. Fire crews, the building inspector for Richmond, along with several other agencies were out at the scene all morning. No one was injured.

We're told the building, which is now condemned by the Richmond Building Inspector, was under routine roof maintenance. It appears right now, the water leaked into and above the ceilings in the second floor apartments through holes in the roof. The roof itself is still intact.

The construction company doing the work tells NBC12 it was an accident and they are to blame. They tell us it was impossible to put a tarp over the entire roof. He says for the first time in 30 years, he is going to have to file an insurance claim over the accident.

The apartment owner worked quickly this morning to get everyone out of their homes and into a temporary home. He has sent them up at the EconoLodge on Robin Hood Road.

Another big issue is the electricity. Right now, we are told Dominion Virginia Power has to come out and shut the electricity off completely, but for the most part, it is off enough to prevent further damage, such as a fire, in every apartment.

Several residents we talked with tell us they were awaken to the dripping of water and hearing a big bang, which ended up being parts of the ceiling collapsing.

By 7 a.m. this morning, all of the units had some type of damage, whether it be ceiling, water or other problems. All of the residents were out of the apartment building and the clean up is set to begin.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.