Apartment roof collapses in KCK under weight of snow - KPTV - FOX 12

Residents unhappy with apartment response after roof collapse

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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

It was a scary afternoon for neighbors in a Kansas City, KS, apartment complex when their roof started to cave in.

The incident was reported about 2 p.m. Friday.

Three apartments on the third floor of the 12-unit building were affected when the roof collapsed. One of the apartments was vacant.

Investigators are still working to determine that snow did indeed cause the roofs of three apartments in the Mission Manor complex to cave in, even though it appears likely. But one resident believes snow wasn't the only reason the roof caved in.

Mercadi Barot just moved into the Mission Manor apartments at West 42nd Avenue and Thompson Street Monday, but Friday she's homeless thanks to two snow-covered roofs that forced her out into the cold.

"We actually moved into apartment 12, but the roof started collapsing yesterday, so they told me to go across the hall to 11, that that side was safe. But today it started collapsing even more," Barot said.

Daniel Gardonia, a professional mover, was on the job when he heard the roof cave in.

"It just sounded like a bunch of stuff falling down, so I just dropped what I had and ran out the front door, basically," Gardonia said. "(I was scared). I've never heard a roof collapse on me before."

Firefighters quickly arrived on scene, shutting off gas meters and then going door-to-door evacuating occupants from the apartment building. The fire department sent firefighters inside with residents so that they could remove necessary personal items.

But a neighbor, who lives in an apartment across the street in a complex run by the same landlord, said he's not surprised by the collapse.

"There's a lot of mold, a lot of damage, a lot of issues that are going on around here that they don't want to fix," said the man who asked that KCTV5 hide his face for fear of repercussions.

The man said the apartments on both sides of West 42nd are not properly maintained, and it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. He showed KCTV5 pictures of the ceiling in his apartment and one in the hallway which he says show extensive water damage. He now fears that the roof over his head might give way.

"If the third floor collapses, then the second floor is going to collapse, and I'm going to get all the water damage," he said.

KCTV5's Dave Jordan called a number for the complex and couldn't reach either the landlord or the apartment manager. But the woman who was forced out of two apartments because of the roof collapse said she has no complaints with how the on-site manager handled the situation.

The collapse caused about $40,000 in damage. Red Cross assisted 21 residents with clothes and food.

As of Monday evening, residents have not been allowed back inside to collect their belongings.

Barot said she lived in the apartments for just four days. She wants her deposit back and the ability to move to another location. But she said the complex management is refusing to refund her deposit or take responsibility for the collapse.

"We just moved in. We haven't had time to get renter's insurance, so if any of my stuff's ruined, how am I going to pay for it?" Barot said.

The apartment complex management is providing hotel rooms for tenants at least through Friday.

"We're keeping the residents that previously occupied the building away from the building until  we get fire and engineer clearance to make sure everyone is safe," said Jennifer Elam, regional property manager for Mission Manor.

Those exams have been delayed by Tuesday's weather.

Elam maintained that the apartments were in good condition before the collapse.

"There was no way for us to anticipate this building would do what it did that day," Elam said.

She said the apartment is working to place tenants in other properties owned by the parent company. But Barot said they are not at a convenient location for her job and her husband's job.

"I'm really frustrated. Beyond frustrated," she said.

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