BRADENTON, Fla. - Blue tarps cover three apartment buildings at Avesta Oak Meade Apartments. More than a dozen families have been evacuated from the comples after heavy rain from Tropical Storm Emily caused leaks in ceilings. Some even collapsed.
Bradenton’s fire marshal says the apartment units are not safe. Tenants agree.
“The ceiling back there, the pantry came down. I got clothes and everything back there,” says Don Payne. His apartment has water damage and the ceiling in the pantry/closet area collapsed.
When Payne came home he also found a leak in the living room, his TV ruined and furniture damaged.
“I’m upset because people should have done the roof the right way," he says.
Payne adds that Emily’s heavy rain fall caused the ceiling to actually collapse, the problems started when workers started replacing the roof.
“Two weeks ago the ceiling was already saturated and brown,” says Payne. “We’re in the roof business. We know if water is coming through to the ceiling. They’re not putting flashing over the holes of the old roof when pulling it up.”
Some tenants say roofers with Intex Builders should have had the tarps up on Friday, knowing rain was forecasted.
“People who do roofs every day should be better trained because they’ve caused an inconvenience to me and others who stay in this apartment complex,” says Payne.
“Her house started leaking and lights flickering,” says Kemia Hill, translating for her friend, Shelley Benjamin.
Benjamin lives across the hall from Payne. She’s a single mom and Haitian immigrant and says Sunday night the water started coming through the ceiling in her apartment.
Hill says, “It’s a mess all on her new furniture. Her son’s clothes are damaged.” She adds, “They should have protected the apartments from rain. I felt like they shouldn’t have been moving from building to building if they were not done with one project already.”
Payne says there’s only one way Intex Builders can make this right - fix the problem.
A representative with Intex would not comment but did say the company is “doing everything it can.” Bradenton fire marshal Kenneth Langston says he’s given the tenants his word and put Intex Builders on notice that he will personally inspect the roofs before allowing tenants to move back. Langston says repairs can take up to a week.
The Red Cross is helping the families in the meantime. A shelter has been opened at St. George’s Church for families to stay.