Photos: Residents evacuated as overhang at Norfolk apartments falls apart

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 5 at 6:18 PM

Norfolk collapse

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NORFOLK - Part of the walkway at a Norfolk apartment building broke apart Monday morning.  You can see in the photographs that pieces of the rebar have bent and there are hunks of concrete on the ground.

Inspectors put up an orange notices at 1957 E. Ocean View Avenue, condemning the apartments until the walkway is fixed.

About ten people in the five units were evacuated and then allowed to return to get belongings.

There are no reports of injuries and the walkway has been taped off. Contractors were on site and working to determine what it will take to repair the walkway.

The Red Cross will help three adults and one child with a place to stay; the others have made their own arrangements, fire officials stated.

13News Now has learned the city inspected the complex on July 23.  According to the Code's Department, the building's owner was cited for tall grass and trash/debris. There were no notes about the condition of the walkway.

July's inspection was one of at least seven times inspectors visited the apartment building over the past five years.

In addition to citations for tall grass and too much trash, records obtained from the City of Norfolk show the building's owner has also been cited for improper wiring in a unit, unsafe gas lines and other fire hazards. Each of those problems were corrected, records show.

Despite the repeated visits, the concrete walkway that crumbled on Monday was never cited as a possible hazard.

City spokeswoman Lori Crouch tells 13News Now the weak spots in the concrete were covered up by vinyl siding attached to the underside of the walkway.

"There would've been no indication that there was any kind of problem with the cement prior to what happened today," Crouch explained.

Even though the siding prevented inspectors from noticing weak spots in the concrete, Crouch said it is not illegal.

There's no violation of the code if the owner chose to put siding over the cement," she said. "That does not violate the code."
 

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