Tenants of an apartment complex in Lakewood that saw its roof collapse Sunday were allowed back into their homes to retrieve essential belongings only one day later.
Eighty four people were evacuated from the Maplewood Village Apartments when a portion of one of the apartment’s roof caved.
No one was hurt, but residents believe they were caused by shingles stacked on the roof for repair.
“It sucks overall that we can’t do anything about it,” said Reyna Martinez who has lived at the apartment complex for seven years.
Martinez rents one of the 20 units that saw its tenants return Monday. They retrieved wallets, laundry, food and toiletries -- things they had been living without for nearly 30 hours.
“Everything I have right now is my car,” Martinez said.
The Red Cross had set up a shelter for displaced residents Sunday night but only three used its services. Some tenants told 9NEWS they opted to sleep in their cars for fear of people looting their unattended apartments.
Private security now watches over the complex, so the Red Cross says all 84 displaced people will stay at a nearby Motel 6 for the foreseeable future.
“This is the calmest that I’m trying to be right now without breaking down or screaming ranting raving and causing a commotion,” Martinez said.
Among the many items families were reunited with was 10-year-old Diana Lopez’s turtle who she feared may have died in the collapse.
“I wanted to cry,” she said about the reunion. “I really wanted to cry because he was my little baby. I didn’t want to lose my little baby turtle.”
The apartment’s owner says structural engineering crews will assess the damaged apartments early Tuesday morning.