Santa Ana residents return to disheveled apartments

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ST. ANN, MO (KTVI) - Residents of the Santa Anna Apartments in St. Ann are back home Tuesday night after almost two weeks of exile.

They were forced to move to a motel because fire sprinklers flooded their building. Some came home to an unpleasant surprise.

For the 161 residents who were forced out of their apartments for the past 12 days, being told they could finally come home Tuesday was welcome news.

But when they got there, some found the resettling unsettling.

They were far to weary to jump for joy, but the moment they got the word, they hastily repacked what has been passing as their luggage and came home.

The residents were forced out on March 28 by a kitchen fire that sent the sprinkler system into overdrive, damaging about one third of the apartments and causing the entire building to be condemned.

Demitrius Brown returned to his seventh floor apartment with high hopes. He was disappointed by what he found, “Well, we got our work cut out for us.”

The baseboards are gone. The water stains are still here. It all smells a little musty and looks like a bit like a shipwreck, “I expected the furniture and all would be moved to the center of the floor so the workers could get around it, but I didn’t expect it to be torn up like this.”

Neither did James Trousdale, who lives across the hall, “I didn’t expect them to tear my house apart.”

But not every resident is upset. “It was a catastrophe,“ Judy Alvey explains. “They did the best they could. I was surprised we got back as fast as we did.”

A spokesman for Sansone, which manages the building, says all this disrepair is only temporary. The company concentrated on getting the life threatening stuff taken care of first so residents could get back to their stuff as quickly as possible. The rest of the repairs are supposed to be made shortly.

Alvey reflects, “I am not overly worried. I’m home. That is kind of where I’m at. I’m home.”

The city of St. Ann has given the Santa Anna Apartments a 30-day occupancy permit, so the rest of those repairs will have to be made pretty quickly.

A spokesman for the management company, which paid for all those motel rooms, says residents will also be given credit on their rent for the time they were out of the building.