An apartment complex in West Orange, New Jersey, is set to be demolished after a rock slide triggered by Hurricane Ida.
A lawyer for Ron Jolyn Apartments on Northfield Avenue announced the razing during a meeting last Thursday, NJ.com reports, after three engineering firms recommended the complex be razed due to the danger posed by a rocky slope behind the building.
Multiple parked cars and the apartment complex were damaged by the rock slide. Langan, an engineering firm brought in by the property owner’s insurance adjuster, reportedly determined there was “a high risk of a further failure, which would likely result in significant property damage and possible loss of life.”
On Monday night, 45 families were evacuated from the complex to a local hotel between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. without any prior warning.
Ron Jolyn Apartments owner John Jakimowicz was not at Thursday’s meeting, where lawyer Steven Eisenstein distributed checks to the tenants that covered security deposit refunds, returned rent for October and $1,250 per unit for relocation assistance.
West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi said the township would pay for accommodations until displaced families found new homes.
“We’re going to be here until each one of you is set up,” Parisi said, according to NJ.com.
Evacuees were given a list of local apartments available to rent, as well as information about a food pantry and relocation assistance. Because Essex County was declared a federal disaster area after Ida, a FEMA team was also at the meeting and took assistance applications from evacuees.
The early September storm pummeled parts of the Northeast, killing at least 13 people and causing between $16 billion to $24 billion in damages, according to a study by CoreLogic. The report said approximately 90 percent of the storm’s impact was focused in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
Though the CoreLogic study pointed to infrastructure improvements made in the wake of extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the deaths caused by the storm sparked new concerns over illegal basement apartments, where at least 11 people were killed amid the storm’s flooding.
[NJ.com] — Holden Walter-Warner