PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - City officials said residents of a Pembroke Pines condominium complex in a concerning state of disrepair will not need to evacuate as previously feared, but they are prohibited from using the balconies.
Residents of the crumbling Heron Pond condos, located off Southwest First Street and 84th Avenue, reacted on Saturday to the latest development. While they’re relieved that they won’t have to leave, they said they still feel left out in the dark.
Saturday evening, their frustrations boiled over. 7News cameras captured several of them outside the manager’s office as they attempted to determine where the money from the homeowner’s association has been going and how the situation got so bad over the past couple of years.
Hours earlier, two women who live in the building spoke with 7News on the condition of anonymity. They said they fear retaliation and are not taking any chances,
The women said they had not heard from the building’s management at that point in the day.
“It’s now been Thursday; today is Saturday. I’ve heard nothing,” said a woman.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen, so we’re just waiting ,” said the other resident.
Hours later, a property manager came out of her of office and gave residents an update.
“All the families will be able to stay with the condition that the balconies are unsafe, so they cannot be used,” she said.
City officials on Thursday night posted notices deeming more than 300 units unsafe pending a engineering report.
But on Saturday afternoon, city officials issued a statement saying residents will not need to evacuate.
It reads in part, “Based on the report’s findings, the residents are allowed to remain in their condos and will not need to evacuate. However, the balconies have been deemed structurally compromised … use of these balconies is prohibited.”
“I apologize for the inconvenience. I’m truly sorry for what’s happening,” the property manager told residents. “I know that you guys were nervous and concerned about it.”
The property manager returned to her office without speaking with 7News or answering residents’ questions.
“Why can’t I go on my balcony and I’m paying rent? Why?!” said a woman.
Residents who spoke to 7News earlier aired their frustrations about the state of the building.
“It has not been addressed for almost three years,” said one of the women who spoke with 7News.
“This is unsafe. Our kids here, my kids like to sit on the balcony, get some fresh air,” said a male resident, “and imagine if something happened on our balcony, and it fell through to the bottom floor.”
“The rent continues to go up, and repairs don’t ever get made,” said another woman who lives in the building.
The neglect is visible on almost every building. Residents said this has been years in the making.
“You can’t control a hurricane, but you can control negligence,” said another resident.
When asked if they are worried, one of the women who offered the initial reactions replied, “Absolutely.”
The other woman said, “Yeah. I’m scared. I have two kids, so of course I’m scared.”
The worry and disrepair have many wondering what their next move will be.
“If I break my lease, what are my ramifications legally?” said one of the women.
Another woman said she is not taking any chances.
“I don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night having to take my kids out of the rubble, and there’s no money that it’s worth our lives,” she said.
In their statement, city officials said that a contract has been signed to fix the balconies, adding they will keep an eye on the community to make sure all residents are safe.
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