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Tenants left without a home after storm rips off Richmond apartment roof

Tenants left without a home after storm rips off Richmond apartment roof
Posted at 6:14 PM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 18:14:55-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A powerful storm that came through Central Virginia on Wednesday afternoon brought high-speed winds, causing extensive damage across the area.

Around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, winds ripped off the roof of an apartment complex on the corner of Arthur Ashe Boulevard and Broad Street. Underneath, copper and wood remain exposed.

On Thursday morning, construction crews began picking up the pieces of what was left.

ALSO READ: Drone video shows Richmond building after winds tore off roof

Cheryl Smith was on the phone with her daughter, who was in the apartment complex at the time, panicked about bricks falling off of the roof onto her fire escape and porch.

"You heard this huge noise, and she was like, 'Oh my God, did you hear that?' She said the whole building shook and things were falling off her shelves, and I said, 'Megan, you need to get out of there now,'" Smith said.

One tenant, who did not want to go on camera due to fear of retaliation, sent us pictures of extensive water damage.

An inspection team with the City of Richmond gave the tenants three hours to pack up and move what they could.

Campus Apartments was on the scene while they moved their belongings, saying they would not provide comment, and asking CBS6 to leave the site.

The apartment complex, The Collection Midtown, also declined to comment.

CBS6 reached out to the city to see if they could provide further information about the property, and the process of getting rental apartments inspected to prevent this kind of damage

According to an email from Richmond's Planning Development and Property Maintenance:

"When complaints are received that require entry into a property the complaint has to be from someone with possession of the property/unit in order for an inspector to gain access. Complaints received that require exterior inspections will be initiated from the public right away and do not require contact with anyone. Our proactive inspections are done from the public right of way and initiated by inspectors as they ride throughout their assigned areas. There are no provisions that require an apartment building to obtain any specific inspections through the agency."

“Just in my experience in the building, a lot of it was quite aged," said Michael Fahl, who used to live in the apartment. He said he moved out because of problems with upkeep. He said while the roof ripping off was shocking, he's not shocked about what happened.

“They had to replace the balcony shortly after I moved in because it was completely unsafe to stand on," Fahl said.

We reached out to the apartment complex to provide comment and additional information on prior issues, but have not heard back.

As for where displaced tenants will go, Smith said, it's up in the air.

“We have no idea," Smith said. "We’re going to get stuff into a storage unit. You know how hard it is to find affordable housing here in Richmond. She’s a teacher so at least this summer she’s got a couple of months to find things, and see what she can find. I don’t know, there are eight apartments in here so all eight people are going to find a new place to live."

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