Watch CBS News

Mt. Airy apartment tenants forced to evacuate after structural dangers uncovered by CBS Philadelphia investigation

Tenants of Philadelphia building deemed unsafe say they have nowhere to go, hotel plans fell through
Tenants of Philadelphia building deemed unsafe say they have nowhere to go, hotel plans fell through 02:37

Update: Several tenants told CBS News Philadelphia they were unable to stay at the hotel that was reserved by the property manager because hotel staff had incomplete reservations. One tenant, Tasha Barker, said she is continuing to live in the apartment unit because she has nowhere else to go. The property manager, GY Properties, disputed the residents' allegations, saying the hotel rooms had been taken care of and that some tenants didn't want to go. 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The deadline for evacuations at a Philadelphia apartment building has now passed. At least eight families were told to leave by their property manager after a CBS News Philadelphia investigation uncovered what engineers called "structural dangers."

CBS News Philadelphia talked with tenants Friday who are now unexpectedly trying to find a new place to live.

Some tenants at the Stenton Garden Apartments in Mount Airy received an email Wednesday mandating urgent evacuations telling people they must be out by 3 p.m. Friday, but Tasha Barker said she learned of this only Thursday.

Barker is most concerned for her son, who has special arrangements for the school bus to pick him up at the apartment building. She said he's also part of a neighborhood football league with practice this weekend.

"The only thing that they're going to pay for is our hotel room. But they're not paying for no transportation," Barker said. She said it was a problem because the hotel is about 20 minutes away and she doesn't have a car.

New Update: Unsafe structure declared for apartment building in Northwest Philadelphia 02:14

Tenants told CBS News Philadelphia they aren't sure if or when they'll be allowed back in.

"It's just heartbreaking like this is where we live and our life is in danger right now," said Shanika Bolton, a resident who's lived there for five years.

Last week, CBS News Philadelphia asked independent engineers to look at the property. They said the situation was too dangerous to have people living inside. They warned the city of their findings.

Initially, both the city and the property manager said the evacuation was not warranted but days later that changed.

"People were just kind of dragging their feet and not being diligent in their inspections and then all of a sudden, now after a news story airs, now we have to evacuate within 72 hours," said tenant Jamie Lawyer, who sent her daughter to stay somewhere else weeks ago when she noticed cracks in her apartment wall.

Friday, a spokesperson with the Philadelphia Department of Licenses & Inspections emailed saying, "Property management will make sure the building is evacuated. At the property owner's request, an inspection of the D building will be done on Monday. L&I will conduct inspections of the D building when repairs begin."

The property manager, GY Properties did not return CBS News Philadelphia's requests for comment Friday. On Wednesday, they sent a statement, saying in part, "Following the completion of shoring, the right wing of building D will be deemed temporarily unavailable for rent during the ongoing repairs. We understand the potential inconvenience this may cause and are committed to providing support to all affected families."

Mount Airy apartment tenants forced to evacuate on short notice after structural dangers uncovered 02:56
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.