By Suzanne Monaghan and Diana Rocco
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — More than 200 residents of a Center City Philadelphia condominium apartment building will have to wait at least another day before they are allowed to return to their homes.
Two pipes inside the building burst last night (see previous story), causing extensive water damage throughout the building.
Residents inside shared their stories.
“There was a large explosion, a large boom,” says 30th floor resident Dean Vetsikas. That’s when water started gushing down the hallways, quickly filling the stairwells and elevator shafts and forcing 250 residents of Center City One on the 1300 block of Spruce Street to evacuate.
“We had water coming in under the door,” Vetsikas says. He snapped a picture as he and his wife grabbed the dog and made their way down 30 flights of water filled stairs.
Most residents spent the night at a hotel while cleanup crews spent the morning and most of the day pumping water out and bringing dryers in. According to License and Inspection, the building owner must reinstall the stand pipes, sprinklers and fire alarms before they’ll give the all clear and residents will be allowed to return home.
That will happen on Thursday–at the earliest. On Wednesday, workers from Philadelphia’s Department of Emergency Management went inside briefly to retrieve medications and pets for residents.
Condo Association President Jeff Jacobs says certain things have to happen before the building is reopened.
“One is the repair to the wet standpipe system, so that the fire suppression system is reactivated,” he explains. “And reactivating the fire alarm system. As soon as those two systems are ready and the elevators operational again, people should be able to return.”
Crews have pumped out the standing water, which they say was five feet high in the elevator shafts. But it could take several days to complete the process of drying out some of the heavily damaged condos.