Family trapped after ceiling collapses

September 9, 2010 11:14:51 AM PDT
A family was trapped in their own home this morning when a falling water heater caused the ceiling to collapse. It happened at the Gulf Coast Arms apartment complex off Hirsch near Lynnfield in northeast Houston. The hot water heater was apparently leaking and eventually fell from the family's ceiling, trapping them for a short time.

While no one was injured by the falling debris, it did take fire crews a while to get the family out. A couple and five young children, ages 6 and younger, were inside the apartment when the incident happened.

"(There were) no injuries," said Chief Harold Vaughan with the Houston Fire Department. "She said she woke up to the sound of noise and thought someone was trying to come into the apartment, but it was just the sheetrock collapsing in from the ceiling of the apartment."

There is no word on the extent of the damage inside the apartment.

When fire crews arrived on the scene, they did notice a foul smell and found what appeared to be raw sewage around three buildings.

"There's feces floating on the ground. It came through the pipes - toilet paper, everything," said resident Angela Edwards.

She lives with the problem here at the Gulf Coast Arms apartments in northeast Houston - and she's fed up.

"We have families, we have kids," Edwards said.

A maintenance employee said the complex is aware of the sewage problem. They did have a plumbing company come out to check out the issue a couple of days ago and determined it was an issue of the city. The city reportedly told the complex they couldn't do anything immediately due to the rain the last couple of days.

"We'll see. Come back in a week and see if you see any resolution because we may not see it at all," said resident Lisa Powell.

Several city departments were called and notified that there was still a problem that needed to be checked out.


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