Fourteen days after the roof collapsed at 267 Mill St. on the second and third floors of the 32-unit building, the cause of the collapse is still under investigation, according to a city press release. of Worcester.
Initial reports of the collapse suggested the cause was the weight of building materials – stone and foam insulation, on the roof – but no official decision has been announced.
The city, which does not employ a structural engineer, cannot determine the cause, the statement said, leaving insurance companies and engineering experts to investigate the collapse.
On Monday, city officials, including Chief Building Inspector David Carl, Assistant Building Commissioner David Horne and Inspection Services Commissioner Chris Spencer, toured and inspected the building with a structural engineer.
After the visit and review of a report, officials agreed that the structural issues were isolated to the five apartments directly affected by the collapse and that other residents could be allowed to collect and examine their belongings.
Horne said so in court on Wednesday. The property management company sued the tenants of the building, evacuated after the collapse, in order to gain access to their apartments and get their belongings out.
City inspectors initially condemned the building, which meant the property manager and residents weren’t supposed to be allowed inside.
Tenants expressed frustration with the process as they said the property management company already had movers come into the building without their consent and move their belongings. Walter Jacobs, the attorney for 267 Mill Street LLC, denied the allegations.
The tenants will have to appear in court a third time on August 4 to work with the property management company and mediators to determine when and how the movers will remove the tenants’ belongings from the building and where they will be stored.
Currently, the five units directly impacted are not accessible, according to the city’s press release. Barriers have been installed as a safety measure.
The city may require additional security measures or monitoring when tenants move out because the building’s monitoring systems are inoperative.
Once the tenant’s personal belongings have been removed from the building, they will be emptied to allow for further assessments and inspections.
City and Worcester Fire Department building inspectors will review all permit applications and building reconstruction plans before they are issued, according to the city.
The city administration and Office of Emergency Management have partnered with local community organizations, including the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance and United Way of Central Massachusetts, to provide resources and support to displaced residents.
“Nothing can prepare anyone for the unexpected and immeasurable loss of being left homeless and without their important and personal belongings,” said Eric D. Batista, acting city manager.
He offered the city’s support, care and concern to all residents and said he was ‘incredibly grateful for the collaboration and assistance of our partner agencies who were on the ground with us on day one. and continue to provide compassionate care and resources to these residents. .”