Oelwein residents hope for the best as they await more information on damaged apartment building
OELWEIN, Iowa (KCRG) - An apartment building in the heart of Oelwein was still empty over 36 hours after inspectors found several structural problems, prompting an evacuation.
After having to evacuate their homes, residents living in the historic building, known as Hotel Mealy, gathered less than a block away at the American Legion before being temporarily moved to nearby hotels.
Since finding out about the evacuation, long-time residents like Roger Nelson are doing what they can to stay informed.
“They found some larger cracks inside there, some more cracks in there. I’m a little concerned because I don’t know if they’re going to tear it down or if they’ll try and patch those cracks,” said Nelson.
As many wondered what was next, a structural engineer conducted a walkthrough the entire building on Monday afternoon with the Oelwein city inspector to note all of the current cracks and structural flaws that initially caused the evacuation, as well as anything else that is at risk.
“We’ll be looking with them to get answers on the future of the building, the next steps, and what the property owner is going to have to take to make the building open back up,” said Oelwein City Administrator, Dylan Mulfinger.
As those inspections and evaluations are set to continue in the coming days, many are relieved to hear residents are safe and tribute their security to the city’s prompt reaction.
“I really think it’s a testament to our public safety and the practices they take to recognize what’s going on and what could possibly happen,” said Mulfinger.
If, or when, residents will be able to move back in is still unknown.
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