BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) — It’s been three weeks since a massive fire tore through a Boulder apartment complex. Now, some residents say they’re fed up with management at Whittier Apartments after they’ve been unable to retrieve their personal belongings with little answers as to why or when they may be able to re-enter.
“Twenty-two days since the event, and we’re just suffocating,” said resident Yuval Sani, who lives in an apartment on the east side of the complex. “Imagine that everything you have, everything you’re wearing, and you have at home disappears. I went and got two of everything: two shirts, two pants, two socks, this is what I’m living with. I’m wearing the same thing I ran away from this building with.”
Sani says he hasn’t been allowed access any of his possessions since the fire, including items like his passport, car title, even Israeli family heirlooms. He’s worried, as looters have even targeted apartment units.
The complex is currently surrounded by fencing and signs prohibiting entry. All day Wednesday, CBS4 crews saw a security guard walking the premises.
“They’re basically ruining our life more than they already have. Boulder HOA needs to be accountable or Whittier Condominiums, said Sani.
Another resident, Richard, who chose not to disclose his last name, shared similar sentiments. “They haven’t really told us much. We just don’t know. And I don’t think they know. It’s definitely limbo, without a doubt, the question is when does the limbo end?”
CBS4’s Mekialaya White contacted the Boulder HOA to find out. Suzanne Leff, whose firm represents Whittier Place Condominium Homeowners’ Association, issued the following statement:
“The Whittier Place Board recognizes the tragedy and trauma resulting from the fire that destroyed homes and possessions of Whittier Place residents on October 19th. The Board is actively working to determine whether safe access to units can occur. At this time only a few of the units are safe enough for limited access. The Association is waiting for an engineer’s report on the status of other units and will not permit access to units unless and until information shows that safe access can occur. Many, if not most, of the units may not be structurally sound or may present other hazards that prevent access. The Association cannot guarantee that owners and residents will get to go back into their units at any point in the future.
The Association expects to have additional details within the next week and will communicate with owners as more information is available. In the meantime, the Association advises all owners and tenants to work with their individual insurance carriers to address property losses. The Red Cross has provided and continues to provide assistance for those with housing needs.
Access is not permitted, and anyone who accesses the site without permission may get injured and/or encounter law enforcement. First responders helped to protect residents from injury at the time of the fire, and the Association asks and encourages people not to put themselves at risk now by entering the site without permission.”
Sani says it’s no consolation, and he will continue to visit the site daily in hopes of retrieving his items.
“It shouldn’t be acceptable. Let us go and get some of our stuff,” he said. “Help us rebuild our lives.”
The cause of the fire is still undetermined.