Waking up was nothing out of the ordinary at the Skybourne Apartment Complex on Nov. 3. As it is most mornings, birds chirped and people went about the business of life on a gorgeous fall morning. But as one observer pointed out, it was not a typical day: As temperatures plummeted to their second-coldest levels in November, a third of the 36-unit complex could not open their doors to their tenants because their heat system has been damaged by three feet of water.
Drywall was soaked from the roof to the second-floor windows in the 47-unit complex in Bay Shore, Long Island, that was created from the same construction debris as a wrecked apartment complex on the island of Jamaica. Five people in Skybourne got soaked, and others escaped without injuries when the contents of their apartments flooded into the foyer and hallways. Even worse, a toilet seat slammed down on one resident’s bed, damaging the mattress.
As residents tried to deal with what was behind them, those who came back described the experience as unnerving. “It felt surreal. It really did,” said Norman Chavez, a resident of the complex who returned to find flooding in his apartment and his possessions covered in ice. “It’s just insane.”
Two vehicles were also damaged, according to Joey Curtis, the senior vice president of Long Island Builders Institute, the trade group that represents the building industry. Because of the damage, he said, “it is almost a certainty” that the owners will file for bankruptcy, “so they cannot afford to repair the damage.”