OAKLAND (KDKA) — An apartment building in the city’s Uptown section has reportedly been condemned.
The large, old building caught fire yesterday, leaving more than seventy people without a home.
The building also rekindled during the heat of the day this afternoon. Some families from the DeRaud Street Apartments are staying with family or friends but many are at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, which has been set up as a temporary shelter.
This is the second time the convention center has been set up as a Red Cross shelter following a fire in the city.
While the 28 residents including ten children are grateful for a roof over their heads, what happens now is what they want to know.
They have nowhere to go and they blame the building’s management.
After more than 24-hours of temporary shelter, residents say they feel abandoned and worried.
The 74-people living in the 48 apartment units inside the DeRaud Street Apartments are homeless following Saturday afternoon’s blaze in the large older structure.
The fire rekindled Sunday afternoon and the Red Cross has been told the building is condemned. Right now the David L. Lawrence Convention Center is serving as a shelter.
“It’s not the optimal place but it serves its purpose especially if we have a big number of people,” said Paula Bauerle, Red Cross Disaster Services Shelter Supervisor.
28-people including ten children needed that emergency shelter at the convention center.
“What they’re saying is when can we go home, mom and dad. And we really don’t have no answers for them,” said Mischelle McMillan, Tenant council President at DeRaud Street Apartments.
The Red Cross is providing food, clothing, diapers and crisis services here.
“The Red Cross basically is that first 48 to 72 hours,” McMillan said.
While residents are thankful, it’s been tough.
“The Red Cross is doing as much as they can do but we’re just trying our best,” said Christopher Green, a DeRaud Street resident. “My children were bathing basically in the restrooms in the sinks.”
Residents sheltered here say they are thankful there was somewhere to go but they are sleeping on cots and have no idea where they will sleep next.
“It’s just amazing how something can change from where we have a stable living condition to all of a sudden everything’s gone,” Green added.
ARCHO Management is the owner and manager of the HUD multi-family housing building and residents say they haven’t heard from them and never responded to their repeated calls for help about building maintenance before the fire.
“I think they’re neglect and just right down ignorance of saying I don’t have to do anything all I have to do is put a bandaid on it and that’s what you get. If you don’t like it, get out,” said McMillan.
Many residents say they had put in requests with ARCHO management to repair issues in their units and that those repairs were not done.
ARCHO did not respond to our calls tonight except for an answering service directing us to try back on Monday.
Residents say they would like some additional help from the city. They have been told to call United Way 2-1-1 for help with housing but they are in need of everything to set up a new life.