Ceiling collapses in apartment

Two Front Royal apartments have been posted as unsafe after one apartment’s ceiling collapsed Thursday afternoon.

Warren County Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie said one second-floor apartment unit at 60 Chester St. was affected by the collapse. He said the tenant self-evacuated, is uninjured and is staying with relatives.

“When the ceiling fell, of course it has ceiling fans and lights so it pulled all of that stuff down as well,” he said. “It was a fair amount of damage that was done.”

Earlier, he said the apartment tenant noticed a large crack in the ceiling and called the building’s real estate company. He said workers from the company were en route when the ceiling collapsed and were present at the scene when authorities arrived.

Bill Miller, a Warren County deputy building official, said sheetrock in the ceiling collapsed into the apartment, also causing blow in insulation to fall into the room. Mabie estimated that there was around 12 inches of insulation.

Miller said he posted both upstairs apartments as unsafe because both have the same ceiling structure. At one point, he said, the two units were most likely one open space. He said the building’s owner will need to bring in a contractor for repairs and evaluation.

He said workers shut off the electricity in both apartments to avoid a risk of fire. The rafters appeared to be undamaged, but he said the roof itself would need repairs along with the ceiling.

“We could see daylight through the roof in a few places and with, also, the rain we’ve had it’s reasonable to suspect that some moisture got into the ceiling,” he said.

“This should be readily fixable,” he said later. “It’s going to take a little time.”

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com