The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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May 1, 2013

Ceiling collapse displaces residents

CLINTON — Miller Ridge Apartment officials are working with the city of Clinton to remedy safety issues in the complex after the ceilings collapsed in Building 14, displacing 20 people.

The incident occurred Thursday, April 18 when water from a heavy rain leaked through a roof that had not been fully repaired. The night prior, one family moved out of the building at 2604 N. Fourth Street because their ceiling already had succumbed to the leaking water.

When emergency responders were first dispatched to the scene around 2 p.m., they ensured no one was hurt in the incident, Clinton Fire Chief Mike Brown said.

The nine families that were evacuated removed their valuables from their apartments and were housed in area hotels. Under the city of Clinton housing code, people are normally given 30 days to vacate a property unless there is an immediate danger as there was in this case. When an immediate danger is present, the fire department performs an emergency evacuation.

“It was raining and people were moving things out in garbage bags. People were moving things out as quickly as they could,” Brown said.

According to Clinton Safety Director Jeff Chapman, the ceiling on the second level of the apartment building completely collapsed as did some parts of the ceiling on the lower floor. The ceiling collapse left the building with exposed insulation and wiring, prompting emergency responders to contact the gas and electric companies to have the utilities to the building disconnected.

“We had to pull the utilities because it was a dangerous situation making it unfit and unlivable,” Chapman said.

Total Emergency Services secured each apartment with a lock and the management company helped store some items.

Since the incident, seven of the nine families have been placed in other apartments in the complex. The other two are staying with family, according to city staff. All displaced tenants removed their possessions from the building.

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