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StarBulletin.com

City investigates walkway collapse


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POSTED: Thursday, September 10, 2009

At least one tenant returned to his Makiki apartment despite a yellow “;X”; marked on his door indicating he should have evacuated Tuesday night after a portion of the third-floor walkway just outside his apartment collapsed.

“;I live here,”; said Vincent Tully, 35, a resident at the Hawaiian Holiday Apartments. “;Where else am I going to go?”;

Tully said the building was “;rickety”; when he first moved in about four or five years ago.

“;I guess you just get used to it. I remember being scared walking on that thing,”; he said, pointing to a section of the walkway that connects two of the three buildings of the U-shaped complex at 1450 Wilder Ave.

;[Preview]  Residents evacuate Wilder building after floor collapse
 

More than a dozen people had to be evacuated from a Makiki apartment building after a part of the third floor came crashing down.

Watch ]

 

The city Department of Planning and Permitting sent an inspector yesterday to investigate the walkway. A report will be prepared as soon as possible, city spokesman Bill Brennan said. Repair of the collapsed and damaged walkways will require a building permit.

Last Thursday, the department had just issued two unrelated violation notices for code deficiencies in units 28 and 33 in the apartment complex, built in 1962, Brennan said.

Police were called at 11:58 p.m. Tuesday and evacuated 18 residents of 12 units on the second and third floors of the four-story walk-up, but no one was injured, said fire Capt. Terry Seelig.

A pile of concrete rubble and glass from a parked car that was damaged remained yesterday in the parking lot below.

Outside Tully's apartment, a hole was left in the concrete walkway. The wooden railing was held in place with rope and yellow hazard tape was strung across the area.

A couple of small chunks were missing from the walkway, but it was mostly a 12-foot section of the underbelly that had given way, exposing rusting rebar under the peeling paint.

“;It's cheap rent, so that's the price of cheap rent,”; Tully said. “;Something like this was going to happen sooner or later. Hopefully, they're not going to come and condemn the place.

“;It's lucky no one was hurt,”; Tully added, saying that the second-floor resident could have come out of his apartment just as the concrete walkway broke.

The agent and an officer of Hawaiian Holiday Apartments Inc., Darryl K.H. Wong, told the Star-Bulletin there was “;nothing to discuss”; and refused to comment.

Tenants of the Hawaiian Holiday Apartments say there's nothing they can do but hope the owners fix whatever needs fixing and don't raise the rent.

Les Matsushita, 53, who lives on the fourth floor above the collapsed walkway, said: “;I'm worried, but what am I supposed to do? They gotta fix 'em. I don't know how much it's going to cost. Not much I can do other than to move out.”;

The collapse may have been a good thing, he said.

“;Maybe now it's good they'll get exposed and the landlords will do something,”; he said. “;Maybe now they're forced to.”;