The city ordered an entire building of at least 50 apartments emptied Wednesday afternoon because Hurricane Sandy blew off the roof.
Residents who paid as little as $129 a week for a room with a closet, heat and lights included, (no bathroom) scrambled to find somewhere to sleep Wednesday night.
“We have nothing. We have no one,” said Heather Monti, who grew up in Roxbury, and has been living in Danbury since April. Her mother lives in Vermont and her father lives in Pennsylvania. She has a job working in a call center in Danbury. Her boyfriend Ray Suraci grew up in East Haven. He is living on workers’ compensation insurance.
Monti and Suraci were buying last minute supplies at Stop N’ Shop when her neighbor called with the bad news. “Mariah called me. She said the roof was in the tree,” Monti said.
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Although workers have put a blue tarp on the roof, wooden pieces of the roof remained in nearby trees Wednesday afternoon.
Water poured into Monti and Suaci’s apartment, leaving the door frame buckled, the carpet and bed wet and water coming through the ceiling fixtures.
“I opened the door and it was like somebody hit me in the face with a bucket of water,” Suraci said.
City Building Official Leo Null decided to close the building after visiting it and walking the roof. He said the repairs may require the owner to hire an engineer to design a proper roof. He also plans to check on any electrical, structural or other damage from the water. He removed the building's certificate of occupancy. Residents have urged him to check on how many apartments in the building might be illegal.
Two doors down from Monti and Suaci's apartment, Siobhan Lopez, who grew up in Norwalk, was luckier. She didn’t have water in her apartment, just no power.
“We moved everything out into the car, but then we heard we could stay, so we moved it back in,” Lopez said. “Now I don’t know what I’m going to do. I maybe will move back to Norwalk and live with my grandmother.”
Downstairs, Mariah Stoughton was having trouble. She had no lease, having only lived in the building for a couple of months. She is worried about getting back into the building once the roof is fixed. Since Tuesday, she moved from her original second floor apartment downstairs because of water damage. Then she learned Wednesday the entire building was being closed.
“Before this, they moved me downstairs. I’m not going to have something collapse on my head,” Stoughton said. “I’m packing up my stuff, and I’m moving in with friends.”
Richard Ready, 34, and Kim Peringer (declined to reveal her age,) have lived at 9 Beaverbrook for about six years. They share a single room, no bathroom and a closet. The kitchen is a refrigerator, a toaster oven and a microwave.
“There’s nothing nice about it, but where else can you live for $129 a week including utilities?” Ready asked. “That’s why we’re here. We don’t make a lot of money. In the winter, I get laid off from my landscaping job.”