Structural problems force hundreds of condo residents to evacuate
Some serious structural problems at several apartment buildings in Fort McMurray have forced hundreds of residents to evacuate.
Engineer reports show all seven buildings are shifting from the foundation and it may be too expensive to repair.
Local councillor, condo board member, and the owner of four units in the Penhorwood Apartment complex says Friday's evacuation has been a huge inconvenience for tenants.
"There is considerable inconvenience, they've been put through a lot, but they will get another apartment. The rest of us who own and live here will be bankrupt," said Allan Vinni who also lives in one of the units.
Renter Matt Jones says fire crews banged on his door late Friday night and told him to pack up what he could in 15 minutes and get out. He says finding another permanent home in Fort McMurray will be difficult.
"Especially not when 400 people are looking at the same time," he said.
Many tenants stopped by the buildings on Tuesday to see if they could get inside. Vinni says the condo board is now working with Superior Safety and the municipality to organize the logistics of tenants getting back in to get their belongings.
"They seem to have a strategy in place of how we can get people in hopefully starting tomorrow morning," he said.
Engineers were on scene for most of the day going inside all seven buildings affected. Crews also inspected the exterior where large cracks were visible.
Vinni says rumours circulating that the structural deficiencies were found weeks ago are not accurate.
"If anybody thinks that anybody had any knowledge before then they are wrong and that's just the facts of it."
Vinny has some strong words for the builder and the inspectors that ever allowed his building to be constructed in a way he describes as completely insufficient.
"They should man up here and take some God dam responsibility...that's what I want to say to them."
Vinni also says one person at a time will be allowed back inside to pack up a few more belongings. He expects that process to take a few days.
The city councillor says no one has an idea if residents will ever be allowed to live in the buildings again.
A public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday night for all residents. CTV News contacted the company that built Penhorwood Apartments, based out of Okotoks, but our calls were not returned as this story was published. The company contact numbers in Fort McMurray have been disconnected.
With files from Dez Melenka