39 families displaced after Cranston apartment building deemed ‘unlivable’

CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – A Cranston apartment complex has been deemed uninhabitable after a walkway collapsed on Monday.

According to Mayor Ken Hopkins, the complex has 39 units, and all residents are now displaced.

“They’re probably not going to be back into this building. There’s some major structural damage in the building,” Hopkins said following the building inspection.

In an emergency meeting on Tuesday, it was announced that the city would provide temporary shelter in a Providence hotel for the residents.

Lorraine Pena said her 41-year-old daughter was walking on the second-floor walkway when it caved in. She was unharmed but was shaken up.

“The upstairs is very bad to walk and so it took that, you know, for everybody to come over and look,” Pena said. “My daughter went upstairs to bring something just overhead here, and as she walked by, it just went down on her.”

Pena said the first thing she and her daughter thought of was the South Florida building collapse and that’s why they reported it to the city.

“If it comes down, a lot of people would get hurt,” Pena said. “It was loaded here with firemen, upstairs, downstairs all over the yard. They were walking around saying, this isn’t good.”

Pena has lived in the apartment complex for the last 12 years and said for the last six, repairs have been few and far between.

“As far as fixing the walkways, I don’t see any of that, which is dangerous.”

Another resident said he’s noticed structural damage in his last year of living here. He said the owners of the building raised rent this month without warning.

“It’s not in the greatest shape. I’ve seen some cracks in the walls, some of the railings are all rotted out in the stairwell, it’s not really the greatest kept up,” said Josh Audette, “and apparently, after last night, it shows.”

Audette was going on a vacation this week but has pushed it back to try and find a new home.

“I came home to start packing up, I was gonna leave earlier this morning and then I saw the fire trucks and everything… I need to make plans.”

Pena said she loves living at the complex and said it’s too bad the owners didn’t keep up on repairs.

“I guess we have to move on. It’s a really nice neighborhood and complex, everyone loves it here, you know, but that’s the downfall when it’s not kept up.”

Residents were seen picking up their belongings on Tuesday afternoon. City officials said once they leave, they will not be allowed back in without approval.

ABC6 reached out to the owners of the apartment complex but did not hear back.

© WLNE-TV 2021

Categories: Cranston, News, Regional News, Rhode Island