UPDATE: Neighbors Displaced for Several More Weeks after Storms Damage Apartment Building

By: Olivia Fecteau; Amanda Barren; Rebekah Pewitt; WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Olivia Fecteau; Amanda Barren; Rebekah Pewitt; WSAZ News Staff Email
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UPDATE 9/2/13 @ 5:50 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) – People who were displaced from their apartment building after last week’s thunderstorm microburst tore off the roof of the complex may not be heading home for several more weeks.

Doug Queen, the landlord of the Castle Apartments along Winchester Avenue in Ashland, said he hopes to have the building reopened by Oct. 1 so the 32 people who are staying in motels or with relatives can move back home.

“Two of the apartments, you could see the sky from them. All that will have to be redone. Where there was water damage – it was a heavy rain that night, before we could get it covered up,” Queen said. “Some electrical problems caused by the storm, which will have to be fixed.”

Queen said that the hole in the building’s roof has been sealed. While not all of the 17 units in the building were damaged, all of the tenants had to move out until the building could be completely fixed. Many of the people living there are now staying eight blocks away at the Ashland Inn.

Donald Martin said the Red Cross told him and his neighbors it would pay for the first month and deposit of their hotel stay.

“It's been bad cause I lost my place, lost a place to stay and been in a motel room,” Martin said. “And I'm broke too, so it makes it worse.”

Martin said he had no clothes with him other than what he was wearing because all of his belongings were still in his apartment unit. He said his apartment was not among those damaged in last week’s storms.

On Monday, Queen went around to some of the tenants who are now staying at the Ashland Inn to talk to them about what they planned to do.

“They had like four days left on the rent from last month, so I'm seeing who wants their money back for that amount, or if they want to come back, just apply it to next month's rent,” Queen said. “The tenants have had a big challenge, being moved around, but the Red Cross takes care of them. The local church has provided food for them.”

Queen said he has spoken to electricians and contractors about setting up temporary electric service. He noted that he has yet to hear back from the insurance company.

When asked how his tenants were handling this situation, Queen said most were doing well.

“Everybody realizes, you know, what problems there are and it just takes time,” Queen said.

While there is insurance on the building, it does not cover individual apartment units.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 8/29/13 @ 11:30 a.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- First came the rains, then a brief moment of high winds that forced more than 30 people out of their apartments Wednesday night.

The Castle Apartments in Ashland, KY took a direct hit from the high winds of the storms that moved through the area.

There are 17 apartments in the building located in 2300 block of Winchester Avenue.

Half the roof on the building was ripped off, along with a large porch area that was destroyed.

James Flora has lived in the apartments for 14 years and says when he came out and saw the damage he feared the worst.

"What was your biggest fear? That we'd find casualties but we didn't, thank God on that," said Flora.

The Red Cross is housing residents at the Ashland Inn until people find a place to live.

Officials are now inspecting the apartments to see if the overall structure is safe or if it will need to be torn down.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

ORIGINAL STORY 8/28/13 11 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Strong thunderstorms moved through parts of the region Wednesday evening, falling trees and knocking out power -- even blowing a roof off an apartment complex in the 2200 block of Winchester Avenue in Ashland, Boyd County 911 dispatchers say.

Boyd County 911 dispatchers say the city of Ashland appeared to be the hardest hit. There were reports of trees down throughout the city. Flooding was not an issue there, though. AEP was reporting a little more than 250 customers without power in Boyd County just after the storm.

The incident at the apartment complex in Ashland left some families homeless.

In Lawrence County, Ohio, several trees were reported down, but there were no reports of high water or roads closed.

There were 1,145 AEP customers in Lawrence County, Ohio, without power, according to AEP's website. As of late Wednesday night, power had been restored to most residents.

WSAZ.com Chief Meteorologist Tony Cavalier said two microbursts (strong winds in a concentrated area) hit the Ashland and Ironton areas, with winds likely more than 60 mph for a brief time.

In nearby Cabell County, W.Va., no serious storm-related issues were reported Wednesday night, county 911 dispatchers said.

No injuries were reported as a result of the storms.

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