Ceiling collapses at apartments in west Houston

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Lawrence Smith got an unexpected shower at his north side apartment he shares with his wife. The water coming from an overhead pipe was scalding hot.

"Hot water came pouring down, it wasn't cold, it was hot," Smith said.

That was just the beginning of the troubles. Three days later he still has a huge hole in his ceiling at Mira Bella Apartments.

Cell phone video taken by neighbors shows Smith and residents sweeping gallons of water out of their homes. Firefighters responded to their calls for help but residents say management didn't for hours.

"Water was coming out of the window and coming this way. I went in there to try and get him out and the whole thing collapsed," said Shirley Martinez.

She also has a hole in her ceiling that she's waiting for a fix. Both neighbors say the water ruined many of their belongings. Martinez, a mother of four, says it's lucky no one was seriously hurt.

"They could have been electrocuted. Him too," said Martinez

Residents say they not only want their ceilings repaired but the ongoing plumbing issues fixed. An open gap at the end of the building shows some of the repair attempts.

"$950 for a two bedroom and that's a lot. To be having these issues that's a lot," said Martinez.

Smith, a Marine Veteran, says he proudly served his country but this is a battle he believes he shouldn't have to fight.

"I'm going to stand my ground for my roof over my head and castle for what I pay, you can't violate that," said Smith.

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