As incidental expenses and hotel bills begin to accumulate, renters made homeless when a dance party led to a partial building collapse now want to know who will reimburse them for their losses.
“We’ve already come in to collect most of our belongings that weren’t too damaged,” said Amber Hornik, student at the University of North Texas.
Most of her belongings were under a carport outside on Monday night as roommates helped shuttle it to a friend’s house.
The shock of what happened Sunday morning has worn off. Reality is now setting in for more than a dozen residents at the Ridge of North Texas apartment complex.
Early Sunday morning, a party two floors above hers caused the floor to collapse. Videos shared on Twitter show people dancing in a small apartment when the floor suddenly gives way, a rush of dust and insulation fills the air and burst water pipes begin spraying.
Hornik laid in bed two stories below.
“It felt like a really deep low thud and then just screaming,” she said.
When the third floor fell onto the second floor it ruptured sprinklers, triggered fire alarms and flooded Amber’s apartment on the first floor.
“I’ve been standing in water the last five hours. My feet are starting to get a little pruny. But I want to get all of my stuff out,” added Hornik.
That’s what she spent Monday night doing; salvaging what she could. It’s uncertain when or if she will be able to return.
"The majority of the residents of The Ridge at North Texas who were displaced over the weekend because of a floor collapsing will be permitted to return to their units this evening and resume occupancy. Residents of the three units directly affected by the incident will be permanently moved to other housing—most likely at a nearby property—as those three units are restored. Affected residents will have seven days’ rent credited to their accounts,” said a spokesman for the complex. “Structural engineers and city officials have the deemed the building suitable for occupancy, attributing this weekend’s incident to a large party in the third-floor unit. The property cannot comment on specific questions related to cause or liability as this incident remains part of an open investigation by the Denton Police Department.”
On Monday, the city’s structural engineers inspected the damage. The building affected was erected in 2000 with the rest of the complex. Three four-bedroom apartments suffered structural problems.
“The structural integrity of the complex is fine,” said Scott McDonald, City of Denton. “When we start putting large numbers of people or a lot of weight on areas that aren't designed for that that we need to use caution.”
Too much jumping by too many people likely led to the structural failure, McDonald explained.
Remarkably, no one got seriously hurt.
Hornik said the manager told her she wouldn’t get November’s rent refunded or even the deposit back because it wasn’t the complex’s fault. That’s tough to comprehend, she said, since it wasn’t hers either.
“The Ridge at North Texas apologizes for the inconvenience caused to residents and will be looking at possible additional steps to take in order to prevent another such incident,” the apartment’s spokesman added.
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