Wall of Irvington apartment building crumbling

June 28, 2013 3:04:37 PM PDT
Residents in two dozen apartments in New Jersey have been forced out of their homes, and they'll be out through the weekend.

The wall on the side of the building is buckling and the residents won't be allowed to return until the structure is stabilized.

Families were rushed out of their homes immediately.

"Disbelief. Unbelievable. I'm kind of afraid, because if one falls, maybe the rest will," said Terrance Meggett, a tenant.

You can't miss the problem. Police tape blocks the area.

"I looked up that way, point to the wall, you could see, I thought it was going to collapse, so I went to the landlord. They did nothing, just sat in the office, I called the fire department, and they came," a tenant said.

The rear of the 24-unit apartment building at 76 Union Avenue is crumbling.

"Over the years, deterioration of ties holding the building together pulled away from the structure," said Chief John Tierney, Irvington Fire Department.

But tenants complain this is just one of many problems there.

"Tell me about maintenance," Eyewitness News asked.

"I'm trying to come up with something you can air," a tenant said.

Yellow tape on the other side of the building shows where they were supposed to repair the sidewalk. It was ripped it up, and never replaced it.

Missing windows have not been repaired and are barely boarded up.

Walkways are long gone, leaving a root-filled path to the parking lot.

The wall was the last straw.

"They said they told you," Eyewitness News said.

"Well somebody's not calling maintenance to show us," a person associated with the building said.

You admit better maintenance could prevent this?" Eyewitness News asked.

"It's not a maintenance problem," the person associated with the building said.

But the city's building inspector says indeed it is.

"It's mostly that ice pushed it. The lack of maintenance up on top with gutters overflowing coming behind the brick and causing the metal to rust out on it," said Paul Arthur, Irvington Building Inspector.

Management was given 72 hours to fix the building.