JMU Students Struggle to Find Housing Following Apartment Collapse

September 19, 2010

Nearly 30 JMU students were injured following an apartment collapse in Harrisonburg around midnight on Friday.

Police say the third floor of Hunters Ridge Apartment Complex collapsed onto the second, and then the second floor collapsed onto the first. Two people were flown to UVA Medical Center with serious injuries. Nearly 30 others were treated for minor injuries.

Now, those displaced, like Kim Buchkingham and Kailynn Brocamp are picking up the pieces and left searching for a new home.

Staring at their couch and chairs lying broken in the grass, Buckingham and Brocamp say they're glad they weren't home when their second floor apartment was crushed by a collapsing third floor. A concerned friend called to make sure they weren't trapped in the rubble.

Buckingham explains, "He was just screaming on the phone, 'Where are you? Are you home?' We said no and he was like you need to get home, your ceiling, your floor, everything's gone. You need to get back right away."

Though they are thankful to be alive, their problems are far from over. The girls can't get into their apartment and can't get to their belongings.

"I have classes at 9 am tomorrow and I don't have my backpack, I don't have my notes. I don't have pens, and I can't get in there and get it." Kailynn says.

Roommates Brian Schwenk and William Ingram were allowed to grab a few items from their place on Sunday. The guys have been staying with friends but are unhappy with the lack of communication from Hunters Ridge.

"I didn't find out about the Red Cross helping us until this morning, when I checked my E-mail. So nobody really tried to get in touch with us. We were all just kind of lost, not knowing what was going on." Schwenk says.

The Red Cross is paying for 13 residents to stay in a hotel, but that emergency care will only last three days, a short time to figure out what to do next.

"There have been tons of people that have been offering me places but I don't feel comfortable staying there forever or anything. You don't want to wear out your welcome." Schwenk says.

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