Ceilings leak, collapse at apt. building

Leaking water lead to a ceiling collapse at Villa Esperanza Apartments in Wyoming. (Feb. 18, 2014)

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Worried residents called Target 8 after their ceilings were dripping and even collapsing at an apartment building dedicated to low-income housing for people with disabilities.

Leaking water weakens ceiling drywall at Villa Esperanza Apartments in Wyoming. (Feb. 18, 2014)Ceilings at Villa Esperanza Apartments on 44th Street in Wyoming have been leaking for a couple of weeks, residents said. Warmer temperatures are making the problem worse, melting snow and ice on the roof. The water has been backing up into the building, causing the leaks.

In the laundry room, part of the ceiling drywall caved in, dumping insulation on the floor — and it was still dripping.

Leaking water lead to a ceiling collapse and dumped insulation into a laundry room at Villa Esperanza Apartments in Wyoming. (Feb. 18, 2014)In Carla Rowley’s apartment, water dripped from a light fixture. It scared her.

“Came in the room and turned on the light and looked up and said, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Hurried and turned the light off because I didn’t know what it was doing,” Rowley said.

She was worried about it shorting and causing a fire.

Wyoming Fire Chief Bob Austin said a short would probably trip a breaker before a fire started, but that there still a remote possibility a fire could spark.

One Villa Esperanza Apartments resident found water leaking from a light fixture. (Feb. 18, 2014)Resident Carol Geldersma has seen the stories in recent weeks about roofs collapsing. The leaks had her worried, too.

“I thought you might be able to help us because I felt like there were lives in danger,” Geldersma told Target 8.

So Target 8 called the man who runs Dwelling Place, the nonprofit that owns the building and 27 others that low-income housing in four counties.

Within an hour, someone from Dwelling Place headquarters was at the building to check it out.

“I was not aware of specifically the problem at Villa until after you called,” Dwelling Place Director Dennis Sturtevant said.

Sturtevant said his maintenance people had a contractor trying to find a way to channel water off the roof for more than a week, but the snow started melting and they couldn’t keep up.

“Now it’s a crisis,” Sturtevant said.

He sent people to deal with it.

“We’re also going through all the apartments on the upper floors and checking the ceilings in the apartments to be certain there’s not a safety hazard,” he said.

He said chopping the ice off the roof would ruin it, so there’s no fast fix.

Residents said they are worried about what may happen in the next few days as the weather warms and the ice and snow melt even more.

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