Article Courtesy of Fox 13 Tampa
By Aaron Mesmer
Published May 2, 2018
ST. PETERSBURG - Several tenants at a St. Petersburg condominium complex are
waiting to hear if they can get back into the homes after they were
Deputy Fire Marshal Lt. Steven Lawrence, with St.
Petersburg Fire Rescue, said at least 10 people in two
buildings were forced out of their homes at Vantage Point
Condominiums due to termite and water damage.
"As far as the fire department is concerned, right now it's
unsafe for the occupants," Lawrence said. "The stairwells
themselves are compromised. The concrete is cracking as well
as pulling away from the walls themselves."
Rotting wood is visible on two separate buildings. Cracks in
the concrete of the breezeway went all the way up to the
third level of the buildings.
The residents who haven't been evacuated fear they might be
"We're concerned [we could] pay our rent and then we wake up tomorrow and
they say, 'you got to get out of there,' said Paul Crews, who lives in the
unit below one that was evacuated. "On pins and needles, just wondering, 'is
[an evacuation] going to happen when you're asleep?'
Karl Schmitz, an attorney for Vantage Point's community association, said
the complex has been in the process of renovating every building for the
last six months and the news came as a shock.
"To the best of our knowledge, none of these buildings are structurally
unsound at all," Schmitz said. "The residents' safety is the biggest
concern, followed of course by their inconvenience."
The tenants who were evacuated are being put up in a hotel by the complex,
according to the fire department.
The community association plans to bring in its own engineer
to inspect the same buildings. Lawrence said the complex can decide to allow
tenants to return, but a community representative would have to sign a
waiver acknowledging the risks and accepting the responsibility should