‘We need to get out now’; UNCG students displaced after ceiling collapse in Greensboro apartment; building condemned

Piedmont Triad News

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Several college students are displaced after the ceiling in their apartment cracked in Greensboro.

The damage was so serious both apartments involved are now condemned. It happened at the Block 43 Apartments off Merritt Drive near UNC Greensboro.

“We’ve lost our home, we’ve lost our belongings, we have nowhere to go,” said Danielle Caiola, a junior at UNCG. “It’s been so uncomfortable to live there and then of course right when we were starting to settle down our ceiling cracked.”

City officials told FOX8 nearly 150 people were inside the unit above Caiola’s around 1:30 a.m. October 27.

Caiola and her roommates said they heard loud music and stomping before a light fixture fell and the ceiling caved in around the kitchen.

“They’re having a party and they’re like stomping and it’s breaking,” said a 911 caller. “It’s like dangerous”

Caiola ran outside to warn the people upstairs. No one was reported injured.

“We were like we need to get out now and that’s when our whole ceiling cracked above our head,” she said. “We ended up not being able to sleep, not going to our test the next morning. We were running on no sleep, no food, we were exhausted.”

Caution tape surrounds both apartments condemned by the city.

Manager of Greensboro Community Improvement Division Troy Powell told FOX8 the apartment will need to be rebuilt.

“The floor systems are not built for that high capacity of people in a small space,” Powell said. “The failures to these floor systems occurred and luckily they got them out just in time.”

Crews temporarily stabilized the apartment. Block 43, which is owned by Varsity Campus, put the displaced students up in a hotel until Monday.

Varsity Campus CEO Jerry Wojenski shared this statement with FOX8:

“We immediately engaged a structural engineer to assess the safety and condition of the units following the incident. For now, the units will remain vacant until such time that we can obtain the appropriate City permits to rebuild the apartment units. Once the units have been rebuilt, we will have our structural engineer and the City inspect to obtain a new certificate of occupancy.

We are currently providing alternative housing within the community to tenants that have been displaced. We are working with each tenant on a fair resolution given the circumstances.

Our lease agreement allows for no more than 10 guests. There are also other provisions including noise violations that were in default of the Lease Agreement.

We have reminded tenants that this type of behavior will not be tolerated at this community.”

The students were offered separate accommodations. Caiola and her roommates told FOX8 they will not move back under the circumstances.

“We already knew who we were living with and just COVID overall, we don’t know if those people are vaccinated or not,” said Annette Medina, a junior at UNCG. “We don’t know if they’re throwing these parties that could cause another ceiling to crack.”

They plan to commute from their parent’s home in the Triangle to UNCG until they find a new place to live.

“We all just want them to terminate the lease on their terms, so we won’t have it affect our rental history and our credits,” Caiola said. “We just want to be let go from this apartment, we want to have nothing to do with them.”

Wojenski told FOX8 they are addressing the situation with the tenants responsible for the damage.

This is not the first time we’ve reported issues at the Block 43 Apartments.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

MOST POPULAR

get the app

My FOX8 News App

Follow FOX8 on Twitter