Since a five-alarm fire devastated the Windermere Court Apartments on Jan. 10, residents have been barred from entering the building. This means they haven’t been allowed to collect personal belongings, including the cats still stranded inside the burnt-out structure.
Things have become more desperate in the past few days. Demolition was scheduled for Monday, but was postponed until mid-week. Activists and protesters have crowded near the apartments, hoping to make their voices heard. Even with the postponement, people remained fearful that their legal documents, treasured belongings, and pets would be lost to the demolition crews.
The owners of Windermere Court Apartments aren’t unsympathetic, however. In a statement, they offer their condolences, but remind the tenants that the Department of Licenses and Inspections “has declared the Windemere Court Apartments building to be imminently dangerous, meaning it is structurally unsound and unsafe and requires immediate repair or demolition.”
Until the demolition happens, the statement continues, the apartment owners are working to determine the best possible way to hopefully retrieve as many items as they can from the building.
“If access and retrieval efforts are possible, the owners stand ready to work in concert with recovery experts and with animal rescue organizations, such as the SPCA, to facilitate the recovery of important documents and, of course, pets,” the statement says.
And now there is some excellent news for Windermere Court tenants: according to councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, residents will be able to get their belongings out of the apartments today. Tenants must meet with on-sight representatives John Vail or J.B. Farely and share their information—apartment number; missing belongings—between noon and 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Officials will then do their best to recover the missing belongings reported to them. Tenants will not be allowed back into the building.
In the final paragraph of the statement, the owners write, “We have heard accounts of tenants and others going into the building. Those accounts are gravely concerning to us, as individuals are literally risking their personal safety. We do understand the deep level of hardship this fire has created; however, we also urge people to be realistic and prudent and place the safety of their own lives and that of others above the retrieval of any remaining physical items.”