PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — More than a dozen people were forced out of their homes after winds ripped a portion of the roof off of the Artist Space Lofts in Petersburg.
Video obtained by 8News shows the collapsed roof with air conditioning units and other debris falling through. Tamara Tazewell was inside doing laundry at the time.
“The wind was coming in from the top of the building, everything starts shaking, debris is flying in from the fourth floor,” said Tazewell. “The air conditioning unit… everything just started just dropping in through the top of the building.”
Tazewell said the destruction happened quickly, in under ten minutes. However, the residents on the fourth floor felt the impact immediately.
“The roof was pulled back to the point where they can see the sky,” she said. “For it to happen in that amount of time. It’s unbelievable.”
The Petersburg Fire Department responded to the situation, telling tenants they needed to evacuate immediately. That response left residents wondering how long they would be without their belongings.
8News reached out to the S.L. Nusbaum Company, which manages the Artist Space Lofts. Senior Vice President Steve Boyce said that, unfortunately, there is no estimated completion date for the repairs.
“There is water damage to some of the apartments that require significant repairs before they can be reoccupied,” Boyce wrote. “We are keeping the affected residents informed as progress is made.”
According to Boyce, 21 apartments were impacted, and three of the families were assisted by the Red Cross. The others, he says, have made alternate arrangements.
When asked about the upcoming storm, he wrote: “We have an executed contract to secure and waterproof the damaged roof in anticipation of this weekend’s weather. Our contractor is confident this will be completed in time.”