Residents forced from homes after roof collapse
North Miami apartment bldg. under repair when heavy rains brought down roof
NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – Residents at The Gold King apartment complex in North Miami were forced out of their homes Thursday after the roof collapsed.
The building on Northeast 6th Avenue was under repair through Christmas Eve.
Thursday morning's heavy rain caused widespread leaks, and eventually brought down the entire roof.
"The room, kitchen and the bathroom, everything is flooded," said Enide Geffrard, who lives on the 4th floor.
"The roof is collapsing on us since 2 a.m. Think about that. All the kids can't eat, can't do anything," said Maccene Geffrard. "The water coming from the bathroom, from the dining room, bathroom -- everything is destroyed inside there."
Residents of the complex said the collapse was sudden and soaking.
"Who's to say the building isn't going to collapse on me?" asked Dorothy Henry. "I didn't even have time to grab anything."
Ever since the collapse, some 250 residents of Gold King apartments have been waiting for facts, for shelter and for answers.
"While they were working on the roof, they were supposed to put us in a safe place and they didn't do it," said Marc Pierre.
Local 10 went to find building records, but North Miami City Hall was closed on Thursday, but in state records there are a list of buildings in North Miami under different corporate names, but all under one owner with the last name Chelminsky
The last name is well known to former city councilman Jacques Despinosse.
"They own almost half of North Miami," said Despinosse. "All the buildings this color are their buildings."
Surveillance video was found from a 2011 public corruption sting. Building owner Shlomo Chalminsky is seen counting out bribe money in a sting targeting North Miami's then-Mayor and Council. Records list the North Miami landlord as a "cooperating witness."
On this day, Chalminsky is a target of angry displaced tenants demanding answers.
"We're working on a temporary basis to help put them someplace for the next 24 to 48 hours, and work with owners to ensure they are placed in a hotel," said Mayor Lucie Tondreau.
No one was hurt in the roof collapse. Several families will be out of their homes, likely for days.
American Red Cross volunteers will help those who are displaced.
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