City building inspectors say the building is so unstable they blocked off part of Olive Street and are detouring traffic away from the area because of the potential danger of the building crashing down. On Friday a construction crew was brought in to board up a gaping hole in the front of the building and to try to stabilize the complex.
The local Red Cross has been assisting the 12 people that lived there.
"In this case we provided folks with a prepaid debit card they could use for food or whatever they determined was their need, as well as the motel," said John Pinter, St. Joseph County Red Cross director.
The tenants could stay at a local hotel through Saturday morning, but were told they needed to contact friends or family to find a place to stay after that.
South Bend Code Enforcement Director Katherine Topple said early Monday morning she and her inspectors plan on going in the building to see what the damage looks like from the inside. If they can stabilize it enough they are going to allow tenants to go in one by one to get their belongings out. And then they are going to tear the building down
The city has posted a warning for people to stay out of the building and instructed the landlord to seal it up.
"The sense I got from folks was less about them getting in but more concerned about others getting in," said Pinter.
The city also ordered the landlord to seal up the building. City Code Enforcement officials, Red Cross volunteers, and the landlord all met with the residents Friday morning. In that meeting the landlord said he would try to put his tenants in other apartments he owns by the middle of next week.
None of the residents who were in the building at the time of the crash were hurt and all of them were able to get some belongings out. We did learn that one person who lived there has been out of town since the accident occurred and may not know about the crash.