Residents demand answers after ceiling collapse at N. Charleston town homes

Published: Sep. 14, 2016 at 9:04 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2016 at 12:12 AM EDT
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Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Major cleanup is underway at some North Charleston homes and locals are pointing to the roofing contractor for answers.

"I was shocked, I knew they were doing the roof and I never expected in a million years that when she called me it was raining inside that it was going to be as bad as it was when I got here," Julie McCue-Benjamin said. McCue-Benjamin's mother lives in one of the six townhomes on Lucille Drive, where ceilings collapsed yesterday when a downpour caught roof crews unaware.

"At first, I was really angry because we had come here right before the storm, and the roofs were all exposed and nobody was here," she said. "No workers were here at that time. And then literally after we left, the downpour came at that time."

That's when McCue-Benjamin's said her mom called her about water coming through the ceiling.

"Once we came back, the workers were back," she said. "I think it was pretty negligent honestly."

Contractor MSC Construction says the roofing crew removed the shingles and left the job site, with no signs of rain, while a project manager inspected the roof. The crew was called back after the evaluation. MSC Construction says they have tarps available on every job site and minutes after the rain began, the crew was on the roof spreading the tarps.  But the damage was already done. The contractor said he's working with insurance companies and property management to fix the situation.

Six units were affected. Sentry Management could not be reached for comment, but North Charleston officials said a building inspector had been on site to inspect property damage and make sure the situation was being remedied.

"I was a little angry but now I understand things happen," McCue-Benjamin said. "We're trying to work through it."

Sean Connolly with MSC Construction released the following statement regarding the building damage:

"MSC Construction, LLC will be working diligently with the sub-contractor, insurance companies, and property management company to remedy this situation. We were hired to replace the roof at Riverway. The average time to replace a roof of this size is one day, from start to finish.  Initial evaluations indicated substantial damage to the roof sheathing beneath the shingles.  Several homeowners had reported leaks and many areas of the roof had been tarped by others before work began.  An engineer was hired by the management company to evaluate and supervise the progress of repairs to the unstable roof system.  He deemed that 80% of the roof sheathing needed to be replaced. The roofing crew removed the shingles and left the job site, with no signs of rain, while the engineer and our project manager walked the roof to assess which sheets needed to be replaced. The roofing crew was called back on site by our project manager after the evaluation. The engineer left moments before the sudden rain burst hit.   

We have tarps available on every job site that requires roof work, this job was not different. Minutes after the rain burst began, the roofing crew was on the roof, in the rain, spreading these tarps.  Our project manager was on site at all times assisting and working to cover the open roof system.  He notified me regarding the situation.  I immediately called ServPro to come out and perform emergency services to begin the
clean up. 

The rain stopped as quickly as it began.  It is unfortunate that the significant amount of rainfall during this short amount of time created the damage to theses six units.  

I fully understand the severity of the situation and the emotional state of each homeowner and tenant. All parties are working together to sort through, overcome, and restore life back to normal for each of these residents and their families."

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