Several residents displaced after high winds rip roof off apartment building
Apartment building is temporarily condemned
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Erin Quinlan says it only took a few minutes before hurricane-force winds made quick work of the neighboring apartment.
“We got the emergency alert at about 3:03 p.m. and within 10 minutes, the whole sky was dark,” Quinlan said. “The whole building shook!”
It happened at an apartment on the 800 block of Arthur Ashe Boulevard at the corner of Broad Street just before 4 p.m. Wednesday. A massive copper roof was peeled back like tinfoil on an apartment building that housed 12, according to fire officials. The roof was ripped off with such force that it swung back towards the neighboring apartment building, damaging bricks on the upper level, severing power lines, and destroying nearby fire escapes.
“I’ve never been in a combat zone, but you hear about blowback from explosions, and I felt like a blow, and the whole ground shaking like it was an earthquake,” Quinlan said. “I looked to my left and out my bathroom window; I just saw the sparks flying and bricks flying everywhere.”
According to fire crews on the scene, only four of the 12 residents we present at the time of the storm. Fortunately, no one was injured.
As Quinlan witnessed the damage unfold in front of her, residents like Ariel Carter were alerted to the aftermath over her phone.
“Nobody was able to warn me until I opened up that live stream on my phone,” Carter said.
Her apartment was on the top floor, and now her ceiling is missing in the place she called home.
“And it’s really stressful because I do have animals,” Carter said. “It’s my home, you know? It may be an apartment, but I put a lot of work into it, and to see a lot of my stuff damaged is just really hard.”
With the passing of storm clouds, there was a silver lining Carter says she was able to rescue her animals.
“We are in a safe place now,” Carter said. “My boyfriend and our animals are staying with a friend right now.”
Those who were present were able to pack up their essential belongings as fire crews continued to assess the damage, but just as fast as the storms came and went, the reality is beginning to set it.
“I’m not really processing anything,” Carter said with tears in her eyes. “In 30 minutes, my home is gone for now. Who knows how long?”
According to the Richmond Fire Department, the gas in the apartment that received the most damage was shut off. There is no word on how long the apartment will be temporarily condemned.
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