Rain causes ceiling collapses in area shelter, apartment complex

Updated: Monday, September 30 2013, 03:46 PM MDT
Rain causes ceiling collapses in area shelter, apartment complex story image

By: Stacey Welsh
EL PASO, Texas -- The El Paso Area Salvation Army said it is working to keep people out of the rain Tuesday night after rain caused the ceiling to cave-in one part of the building earlier in the morning.

Salvation Army Community Relations and Resource Development Director Rose Lucero-Mercado said the damage happened in the men's overnight sleeping area, and 11 men were staying there at the time. She said the shelter moved them to the dining hall until breakfast, and the Salvation Army did not see this coming.

"As a matter of fact, I had given a tour [Tuesday] of this same facility and this section of the building. There was not any evidence. Even with the rain all day, there was nothing," Lucero-Mercado said.

She also said the roof was built about three years ago.

About 80 people stay at the El Paso Salvation Army each night, and staff members said there is no room for any more beds. The Salvation Army could move people that would have stayed in the damaged room to another part of the building.

"We have seen an increase in numbers at this point. We're going to do our best to accommodate everyone. We are working with other shelters to make sure we can accommodate the homeless in this community," Lucero-Mercado said.

Lucero-Mercado said it is unclear when the Salvation Army can start repairs, because rain is expected throughout the next few days.

Across town, at the Trails of Rancho Vista apartment complex, residents said rain also damaged their roof and ceiling.

Brittany Salerio said she noticed a bubble forming on her ceiling from leaks about a month ago, ago and notified the complex's front office.

"I called, and I let them know. They never did anything about it, and then it would rain again, and I would call. They wouldn't come," Salerio said.

She also said the damage scared her 3-year-old son and forced her family to stay at a relative's apartment overnight.

"I'm already nine months pregnant. I can't stay here like this," Salerio said.

She said the collapse happened at about 10 p.m. Tuesday. When KFOX14 arrived at the apartment around 11 a.m. Wednesday, maintenance workers were working on repairs to the ceiling.

The Trails of Rancho Vista would not talk to KFOX14 on camera or give details of the repairs. A manager said any repairs needed would be done in a timely manner.

In the meantime, Salerio said she and her family are considering moving out of the complex.

Rain causes ceiling collapses in area shelter, apartment complex
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Residents living in the county suffered the most damage when heavy rainfall hit the Borderland. Cleanup efforts are underway and your help is needed. KFOX14 and The Salvation Army are teaming up to rebuild what they've lost.

Supplies Needed:
Sheet Rock
Roofing Materials

Supplies can be dropped off at: 4300 E. Paisano

Donate Online: www.salvationarmyelpasotx.org
Call to Donate: 915-544-9811