Gusty winds rip off apartment roof

Gusty winds rip off apartment roof

SCRANTON (WOLF) -- Debris scatters the parking lot of Lutherwood Senior Living Community in Scranton - debris that used to be part of their roof.

"I was listening to the rain pounding, and the wind. The wind was amazing," said resident William Hopkins. He lives on the fourth floor and was woken up early.

Around 5:30 this morning first responders got a call that the Lutherwood building had its roof ripped off, part of which smashed into a 6th floor window when it flopped over the side.

The roof is just six years old.

"The damage is significant. Obviously with the heavy rain, we're getting water in the building on the top floor and actually coming down through the other floors right now," said Scranton Fire Department Assistant Chief Jim Floryshak.

Floor by floor, more than 120 people were evacuated from the building.

Several were picked up by family and friends.

Others were moved to nearby Grace Reformed Episcopal Church-turned Red Cross shelter.

Asst. Chief Floryshak says everything has been made more challenging with the continuing severe weather.

"The roof can't be tarped because of conditions like this. It's making evacuation difficult. We're dealing with elderly residents and between the rain and the wind, the conditions aren't in our favor," he said.

"It's been hectic, you know, you get your junk and you try to be calm," said Anne Parola, who's been a Lutherwood resident since 2003.

"Nightmare. Nightmare. That's all I can say, been like a nightmare," said Hopkins.

Several crews are working to fix the torn up roof and building, while volunteers take care of residents who haven't gone home with family and friends.

The Red Cross says a dozen people will stay at the shelter overnight, and residents won't be able to return to the building for at least two days.

That time frame is for a temporary fix, Asst. Chief Floryshak says a permanent solution could take much longer.

"I'm grateful to, at least, for all of us, have someplace to go for now," said Hopkins.

"I have to be careful. I'm praying, you know, that everything is alright," said Parola, who is currently battling cancer. "But people are very nice."

"You can fix a roof. You can fix a car. You can fix a truck, but you can't fix a human body," said Hopkins.

First responders say no one was hurt in the incident.

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