Evacuated tenants upset after roof collapse at Lou. building


by WHAS11


Posted on August 20, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 20 at 6:42 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It's been weeks since the roof of an apartment building in Old Louisville partially collapsed.

The building still hasn't been fixed and tenants are forced to find a new place to call home, but perhaps the most upsetting thing is people aren't allowed to get their belongings.

The Old Louisville apartment building has a crack in the roof's frame where brick and mortar are buckling.

Signs are posted on the building that read "keep out."

Tenants were evacuated from nine units in July after the roof partially collapsed.
Firefighters said boxes of roofing shingles caused the stress.

911 Dispatcher: "Why is the building collapsing do you know?"

Caller: "I think there's too much weight on the roof, they were loading tiles or shingles up on the roof. I think the weight made the ceiling buckle."

Nearly four weeks later, former tenant Chase Browning still sleeps on an air mattress with little to his name.

"We pretty much end up sleeping on the floor every night," Browning, said. “I had some clothes I was able to pack important paper work laptop and certain necessities."

Browning lived in a ground floor unit and doesn't understand why he can't have his property.

He was forced to move to Jeffersonville and commute to his security job, ironically feeling insecure himself.

"The first thing they had us do was a lease cancellation agreement and at that point I feel that's when we should stop dealing with this," Browning, said.

Browning doesn't want to sign an agreement which allows building workers to remove property so tenants can pick it up within 48 hours.

"Harmless from all damages arising from said removal of our belongings from our apartment," Browning read from the agreement.

WHAS 11 called 4th Street LLC based in Miami which owns the building at the 1300 block of South 4th Street to get some answers and they finally called back.         

"Now I left it to the discretion of my staff there which items can come out and which not. So for example the basement or ground level might be able to get all of their stuff," Ilan Markovitz with 4th Street LLC, said .

The owner says they're working with city officials, an engineer and insurance company to safely rebuild over the next two months. That includes new windows and a roof but Browning wants reassurance his stuff will be safe.

Browning said: "I don't know, it just doesn't seem right. It seems like there should be more help put into it."
The Department of Codes and Regulations said contract bids are being made to fix the apartment building.

It could take more than a week to remove belongings and people who live on the third floor may not be able to retrieve everything.

4th Street LLC owns four properties in Louisville.

WHAS 11 made an open records request but building inspection records were not readily available.

The property owner says they were not aware of any previous violations or building inspection issues.        

WHAS11's Gene Kang spoke exclusively with one resident who's affected by this in the video above.