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East Side residents concerned for their safety after abandoned Cleveland apartment building partially collapses

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 10:22 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Part of an abandoned apartment building came crashing down on Cleveland’s East Side Tuesday morning. The residents who live nearby say the building is a ticking time bomb, and they’ve been trying to get someone to tear it down for years.

“It sounded like a bomb coming down cause the 3rd floor, 2nd floor, they all fell through,” one woman who lives in the building next door told 19 News.

The abandoned apartment building is located on East Boulevard and while neighbors have been complaining about its condition for years, what happened Tuesday morning brought their concerns to a fever pitch.

“They’re too close together, and it was very scary because I didn’t know what was crashing in,” the neighbor said. “I just heard like a bomb, that was it. That’s very scary to know if that was to fall; I’m right there, so it could happen to me, it could happen to our building.”

19 News has learned the building sustained significant damage from a fire in the early 2000′s. In 2016 the building was gifted to a revitalization non-profit by the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. The county land bank told 19 News the nonprofit got the building for free because it was considered a “last resort” building, and no one else wanted it. We reached out to the current owners, but so far, we have not heard back.

“After they have taken over, nothing has happened, nothing,” said the neighbor.

19′s Kelly Kennedy took these concerns directly to Cleveland city councilman Kevin Conwell. He said residents first reached out to him about the issues in late April, but now he realizes just how serious a danger this poses to public safety.

“It needs to be demoed once you see that it’s falling down, and you see what happened in Florida,” said Conwell. “It could be fatalities the next time around, so that’s lessons learned, and I care about my residents a great deal, and you have channel 19 (saying) councilman where you at, so we will move forward with the emergency ordinance.”

Conwell says the city will pass an emergency ordinance giving them control of the building so they can tear it down. Conwell said he spoke with the building’s owner, and he said he would not object. The councilman hopes this will happen in the next two to three weeks. We asked if anyone could come to make sure the building is safe sooner.

“Yeah, they’ll come out,” said Conwell. “They’ll assess it probably this week, and they’ll look at the risk, and I’ll be in building and housing tomorrow morning, first thing tomorrow morning.”

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