Residents Return After Safety Scare in Freeland

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FREELAND -- Senior citizens were able to return to their apartment building in Luzerne County Monday, about ten hours after it was evacuated.

Engineers are still trying to figure out what caused the wall to crack last night at Freeland Senior Apartments.

With their wheelchairs and walkers, residents of Freeland Senior Apartments were welcomed back after a noisy and unwelcome surprise.

"I'm definitely happy to be home. I`m happy to be with my kitty cat," said resident Elizabeth Hope.

Hope and 22 of her neighbors were forced out into the dark Sunday night when a large crack started to form in a wall on the third floor.

Firefighters cleared the building on Centre Street as a precaution.

Hope said the evacuation ran smoothly because residents attended a safety seminar just a few weeks ago.

"The chief of the fire department was here telling everybody what they need to have like three days of medication," Hope said.

One woman who lives on the third floor told Newswatch 16 she heard a loud crack last night. Now no one is allowed inside six of the apartments that face Centre street.

"I heard this noise in the hallway and I thought it was children running up and down," said resident Lorraine McFarland.

McFarland said she heard a cracking noise not once, but twice.

Some residents spent the night with family or friends, but others were put up in a hotel near Hazleton.  They included Marcelle Kraynak.

"We anxiously awaited the verdict this morning and we can come home," Kraynak said.

Now tenants are waiting for repairs to be made so their six other neighbors can return.

"Its terrible because there's no place like home," said McFarland.

Workers at Freeland Senior Apartments said they're waiting on a report from engineers before repairs can start.