Saga continues for roof collapse residents

Residents not yet allowed back home

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – It's been a full week since a roof collapse forced the residents of the Gold King apartments were forced out of their homes.

And even though crews have been working around the clock to clean up the mess caused by last Thursday's rain, the people who live there are still not being allowed back into their apartments.

"At this point it's 100 percent dry," said Armando Silva of Rainbow International Restorations. He added there's absolutely no reason why people can't go back.

The manager even took us into some of the most heavily damaged apartments to show the ceilings have been patched, the electricity is on, and the elevators and smoke detectors have been repaired.

"Everything the city asked us to do we have done those things. The only problem now is the A/C," said Roberto Toussaint.

But the city won't let residents back in until the air conditioning has been restored to their units, saying it considers air conditioning a minimum housing requirement.

"Oh, I don't think that was fair because we don't need A/C right now," said displaced resident Analia  Silencieus.

But some residents say their A/C wasn't working before their roof collapsed, because the building owner has been in the process of replacing it. Others say they wouldn't have it on right now anyway.

"It's cold in my apartment because of the temperature and its going to go down this weekend as well. So there's no need," said Louis Mary.

Local 10 contacted the city and a spokesperson said an inspector will be back out Friday afternoon residents who have air conditioning in their apartments should be allowed back in.  

It's unclear, however, how long it will be until all the units are back on line. But tenants, especially those with kids, say enough is enough.

"They have to go to school Monday, I don't know where they're going to sleep," Mary said.

On Friday afternoon, North Miami issued the following press release:

"The multi-family apartment building that suffered a roof collapse on December 26 remains to be deemed unsafe by North Miami's building official.  Certain life and safety issues must be satisfied before residents are allowed to inhabit the units.  Of the 70 apartment units, 12 units suffered significant damage that will take more time to repair due to the roof collapse and water damage.  The remaining units will be released as each unit meets the minimum housing standard, which requires issues such as working air conditioning and electrical work to meet code. Today's inspection found that electrical work in individual units must be addressed prior to clearing the building, as the work is not done to code.  It is the responsibility of the property owner to make the repairs that are required in order to pass inspection.

North Miami's Building Department is inspecting the property daily.  The City understands that residents have been displaced for nine days and is doing everything in our power to expedite inspections and work with the property owner to clear the building for occupancy. 

North Miami's Building Official is the only authority that can clear the units for occupancy."