NJ residents finally home after garage collapse

December 21, 2010 3:15:47 AM PST
Some of the residents of a Hackensack, New Jersey, apartment complex where a garage collapsed are finally returning home.

Hackensack's city manager says a temporary certificate of occupancy was granted to Prospect Towers around 4 p.m. Monday.

Some last-minute repairs were completed in the afternoon while fire inspectors were doing a final inspection.

Residents were so happy to finally be going back home Monday night, they could hardly contain their excitement.

Last July, two floors of a parking garage connected to 300 Prospect Avenue collapsed in a heap and 300 residents had to be moved while they worked on repairs.

Steven Elbel was one, and he wheeled his belongings back inside and started unpacking.

He was last in his apartment on July 16.

"We thought well maybe it was an earthquake, so we kind of looked outside, went down the hall and we saw the front of the thing had collapsed," Elbel said.

Engineers have still not figured out why the two floors came crashing down, but that doesn't seem to bother residents much.

"It's been crawling with engineers and inspectors and architects, and because it was a separate support structure, I never felt the building was unsafe," resident Debbie Presselef said. "I did not think they would put us back in a building that was deemed unsafe."

The certificate allows residents to get back into 65 apartments.

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