Weeks after the Rowlett apartment fire, residents remain displaced, without their belongings
Roulette (CBSNewsTexas.com) – It’s been more than a month since several tenants in a Rowlett apartment complex were evicted after a fire.
Not only is not having a home devastating, they say, some have not been able to get any of their possessions back.
The Terra Lago apartments in Roulette were the home of Tina Scott. She carried the memories of her 11-year-old son, who died of cancer.
“Everything you left on this earth is in the closet of that flat, and you’re told you’ll never see those things again. You can’t get to them. They’re there, but we can’t have them,” she said. “It’s very frustrating.”
Scott said she could see some damage.
“I could see because I had a Ring camera at my door and the fireman broke down the door,” she said. “I could see the amount of water outside my apartment and I don’t feel that the cupboard was damaged by the water,” she said.
Scott says she was told she wouldn’t be able to return to her apartment. Meanwhile, some of her neighbors, like Debbie Smith, say that week they were given about 10 minutes to get what they could get.
“We looked around,” Smith said. “We didn’t see any water, we didn’t see any smoke, we didn’t smell anything. It looked untouched.”
Smith says she thought she would be able to return soon, but then weeks passed.
“They left us sitting there, wondering what was going to happen to our stuff,” Smith said. “We didn’t know.”
Asked for comment, a Terra Lago representative told CBS News Texas:
“Over the past month, our team has been working around the clock on the options available to our residents following the August 3 fire that affected one of our two buildings in Terra Lago. We are grateful that no one was injured, but we understand how difficult the time has passed while residents try to recover their properties. This situation continues to present serious safety issues and concerns.Here is a summary of our sequence of events and actions:
In the days following the initial event, based on the condition of the building, protocols established by licensed experts, and limited resident access conditions approved by the City, we were able to allow residents into the affected portions of the building for escorted visits, no longer than 15 minutes, to retrieve priority personal items. high.
Since those initial visits, conditions in the affected part of the building had continued to deteriorate due to extensive damage and environmental factors beyond our control, and the building was not safe for residents to enter. The affected portion of the building is currently subject to an Unsafe Building Order, issued by the Rowlet Building Department on 8/17, which limits access to a select group of licensed and certified contractors and experts.
Based on the conditions in the affected portion of the building, which resulted from the fire and subsequent environmental conditions, we anticipate that the affected portion of the building will not be cleared for re-entry by non-professionals until after mitigation efforts are completed (as mandated by the City), which will take several more months.
In the meantime, we have appointed a certified industrial hygienist to assess the condition of the apartments in the affected part of the building. Additionally, for certain residential homes in the affected building that are safe and legally accessible to professionals, we have appointed an IICRC-approved content restoration vendor to assess the condition of the residents’ property and move anything that can be salvaged into storage at no cost to our residents. which they will then be able to recover.
We have acknowledged to residents that, based on assessments conducted to date by our experts, including licensed structural engineers, there may be certain residential homes for which no personal items will be considered recoverable by a licensed outside expert due to personal contents presenting health and safety risks and and/or significant structural damage that may require demolition before any party can safely access these areas to retrieve their contents.
We have heard directly from all residents about the current status of their properties, and will continue to keep them informed of any relevant updates.”
Both Scott and Smith believe the delayed response led to this situation.
“It’s not right for me and it’s not right that they haven’t been transparent with us all along,” said Smith.
Smith says she was told a licensed professional would appraise some residents’ possessions, including her own, and move anything that could be salvaged into storage at no cost.
Scott received an email saying that everything she owned would be removed and disposed of.
“There are six things on my list,” Scott said. “Six things on my list. If anyone gets into that apartment, I don’t care about anything else.”
Those who received notice that some of their belongings might be repairable said they received a timeline of how long this would take, which ranges from 6 to 8 weeks. Again, they think it’s too long.
(Signs for translating) Apartment fire