MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Residents of the condemned building at 680 Boston Post Road spoke to the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees Monday night about the issues that have kept their homes uninhabitable for more than two weeks. The Jan. 27 water leak and the emergency response to it have caused damage that may take two or three more weeks to repair, they said.
"We can't thank the police and fire department enough for being so quick and responsive as well as the EMS and the American Red Cross, who were all terrific," said Susanna Germani, a resident and also a member of the building's board. "But I've gotten some inquiries from other residents about why some of the tactics were so extreme."
Germani said that all of the residents are very grateful for how helpful the Village and everyone working on the building has been. "It's just a little disconcerting because people are going on two weeks now of not being able to go home," she said.
The damage in the building is because of a pipe that burst, causing water to leak through all four stories and into the parking garage. On top of the water that was shut off, electric and gas utilities were also cut. Sheetrock collapsed and was taken down, and emergency responders had to break some doors in.
Another resident, Tony Foppiano, said that despite being appreciative of the overall swift response, the force seemed unnecessary. "It just seemed like training day," he said.
Foppiano said there were only five units with water damage but 62 families, nearly 300 people, are out of their apartments. He mentioned multiple times that the building should not have been uninhabitable for more than a few days.
"They started knocking down all the doors with their axes; it's a mess" he said. "It looks like WWWIII in there."
According to Germani, the decision was made to replace the broken doors with new doors that provide extra fire safety, and this is causing a two- to three-week delay. The process of repairs and getting people back into their homes is in the hands of the building manager.
Fire Chief Chris Szymanowski explained how the actions taken were in line with the Village of Mamaroneck's procedures.
"Simple water leaks are in houses, not apartment buildings like this," he said. "There was an extremely large volume of water. We had collapsing of sheetrock, which could have hurt somebody. The Village of Mamaroneck's priority will always be life safety over property."
Szymanowski said there was a woman in one unit who was unable to come to her door. She was having chest pains and the EMS had to bring her down as the residents evacuated.
"I would much rather be here tonight justifying 32 broken doors than justifying something happening to the lady" because the "fire department didn't do their due diligence," Szymanowski said.
Mayor Norman Rosenblum said that the Village will look into revising its emergency entry system that is in place for the building and the individual units.