Building roof collapses in Daytona Beach; 120 residents forced out

By Brittany Jones and Erin Murray, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Friday, November 24, 2017, 11:05 PM EST

A roof collapsed at a Daytona Beach apartment building after heavy rains on Thanksgiving, forcing more than 100 tenants from their homes.

Fire Rescue officials said sections of a roof on a building at The Overlook apartment complex failed, forcing more than 100 people from their homes in the middle of the night.

Heavy rains and severe winds pounded parts of Volusia County on Thursday.

Firefighters evacuated about 120 residents from the building. No one was injured.

"There were puddles of water, stairways full of water, and on the second floor, four doors down, the hallway is wet," said tenant Lauren Price.

The Overlook in Daytona apartment complex is now the scene of crews in work vests scattered out trying to fix the collapsed roof.

“We had to leave last night at 3 a.m. They just evacuated us last night, they said we have to leave and find a place, go to a shelter or we have to rent,” said Matthew Gaal and Renata Rosta.  

It has been a long 24 hours for them and their two dogs. The couple said this cave-in is far from the first problem. They just moved to the fourth floor two days ago, after major issues with their third floor apartment.

“We had mold, a lot of mold, mushrooms from the carpet, so we are really not happy with this apartment,” said Gaal. 

Friday, disaster restoration crews brought machines and fans to dry everything up, but what both Gaal and Rosta really want is answers from management.

“Nothing,” said Rosta. “They said they don’t know, they are not sure. Call the insurance company or something like that, we can try. And the management is not even here. They said they will be here on Monday.”

Jordan McGraw’s family has lived in The Overlook apartments for nearly two years

Luckily for him, he doesn’t live in the building where fire officials say the roof collapsed overnight.

"Every single story of all six floors that’s kind of a big concern for us too, because what if we’ve got our baby in the apartment and water starts pouring down on her head," said McGraw.

Residents at the complex said that roofers have been working on the roof for months and were close to finishing it.

"I feel like in the middle of the night a bunch of people just evacuated from their homes, and their roof just got replaced — outrageous," McGraw said.

Roof installation materials are stacked on the ground near the building where tenants said the crews have been working.

Now emergency disaster repair crews are having to rush to fix the roof.

"There were dozens of guys working here. I don’t get how the roof just collapsed," McGraw said.

Red Cross volunteers were on site Friday to help tenants by getting a shelter up and running as soon as possible. First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach will house the tenants until it’s determined it’s safe for them to return home.

The Red Cross’ Rebecca Delorenzo said they received the call around 1 a.m. overnight Friday and opened a shelter within an hour. She said they had about 15 tenants show up, but most of them filtered out by the end of the day and returned home because they didn't find much damage.

While McGraw's family wasn't affected, he still wants to see something done.

"I’m hoping that it gets fixed. I’m hoping that all of the residents here get some type of reimbursements or something, because I’m sure a lot of stuff got ruined, a lot of valuable stuff that’s irreplaceable got ruined, and that’s unfortunate and sad," McrGraw said.

The Red Cross said they plan to respond on a case by case basis to help people and close the shelter.

The incident is under investigation. The maintenance manager for the apartment complex said the construction company says they're working on a statement.