Families Flee Crumbling Building in Towanda

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TOWANDA – Part of a building in Towanda collapsed Wednesday evening, leaving 18 people displaced.

The three-story apartment building on Bridge Street began to crumble sometime around 9 p.m.

American Red Cross officials said eight families living there were able to escape without injury. The Red Cross is assisting those families after the building collapse.

"A big boom like a freight train coming through, I expected it, I watched, I knew it was going to come," said Michael Garinger.

Michael Garinger has been living at the apartment building in Towanda for five years and was sitting on his porch last night when he noticed the wall next to him start to come down.

Now, people from eight families with ages ranging from 3 to 59, are all without a place to live after part of their building collapsed.

Some businesses were also in the building, and the owners are surprised to see part of wall in rubble.

"It was scary for me because I did not know if it was going to collapse on me. I didn't know the extent so I was a little nervous, said Colleen Pozzi of C&B Unique Boutiques.

Residents who live at the apartment complex say the damage began on the ground floor and made its way up to the third floor.

Ray J'S Knight Out, the neighboring building, had to evacuate five upstairs rooms. Those families were able to come back.

Workers tell Newswatch 16 they've seen the conditions worsen over time at the apartment building next door.

"I've noticed more cracks since the weather un-thawed and there's been more cracks inside the building," said Monique Kisner of Ray J's.

Now with an uncertain future, Garinger and the rest of the apartment building tenants will have to depend on their landlord to see when or if they'll be able to move back in.

"I don't know right now. I don't know where we are going to go we don't have nowhere to go try to see if the Red Cross will help us," said Garinger.

Towanda borough officials tell Newswatch 16 they are waiting for a structural engineer to take a look before making a decision on what's next for the crumbling building. In the meantime, the tenants are staying at a nearby hotel.

17 comments

  • local_gal

    Back in the ’80s a house across from the court house, below the Ben Franklin collapsed and a little girl was lost in that mess. Guess no one learned a lesson from that tragedy. If people want to have rentals they need to be responsible for their properties and if they aren’t they need to be held accountable for all damages and provide their displaced tenants a decent place to live. I cannot understand how some people can sleep at night.

  • yeti sasquatch

    The only important building in Towanda sits in the middle of town just take your check book or cash when you visit…..

    • Rick

      Stupid comment. Slum lords especially this one are about as far right and conservative as it gets like the rest of Bradford County and most certainly 99% of Towanda.

    • Unknown

      This is my apartment and the landlord is actually a very nice woman who happens to have had a recent tragic accident which left her handicapped between that and her husband constantly working to keep up with the bills for her and the care she needs they really have anytime to maintain the building in which is why they are well were trying to sell it .

      • give me a break!

        No excuses! This is bullcrap! Lives are/were in danger. If you can’t be a justifiable landlord then get out of the landlord business. If that whole building collapsed and you died, I guess one could say you cared about your landlord more than she cared about you. Spare me!

      • local_gal

        This is my apartment and the landlord is actually a very nice woman who happens to have had a recent tragic accident which left her handicapped between that and her husband constantly working to keep up with the bills for her and the care she needs they really have anytime to maintain the building in which is why they are well were trying to sell it . The building did not show signs of instability overnight, this happens over a long period and your ll knew it long ago..or should have. Anyone who noticed the deterioration could have/should have reported it. So then we can ask why building inspectors did nothing. This is a good example of why codes are in place, inspections are done and followed through..if someone doesn’t have them in their back pocket.

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