Two students are trying to put their lives back together after the house they were living in suddenly collapsed last week and left them without a place to live.
Courtney Ignarri and Tricia O’Donnell lived on the first floor of a four-story house at 1910 Spring Garden St. The house, which had been separated into five different apartments, collapsed after being disrupted by construction taking place next door. The construction crew was working on the foundation of a condominium that is being built.
“They dug right up against our building, below the foundation and did not support the wall,” Ignarri said.
The rear end of the house completely collapsed, and left only the front section of the house partially intact, though very unstable.
O’Donnell and Ignarri were each contacted by Philadelphia police, who had been mistakenly searching through the rubble for the two girls.
“No one was in the building when it collapsed,” Ignarri said.
The police then gave the girls the news that their house had been destroyed.
Ignarri had been in class, and O’Donnell was teaching a writing workshop when the building fell.
The girls lived in the rear of the building, where most of the damage was sustained. They lost all of their possessions in the collapse, as did the other residents of the building.
Ignarri said that there were four other people living in the house. Their landlord, a Temple Law graduate student, and two non-Temple affiliated older residents also resided there.
The other residents lost all of their possessions as well.
After the building collapsed, Temple’s office of Off-Campus Housing assisted the girls in finding a place to stay.
They are living in the 1300 residential hall right now, but are looking for other accommodations.
Steven Eltz, who works in the office of Off-Campus Housing, said that students who find themselves in a crisis can find support through Temple administration.
“Usually students in emergency situations will contact the office of Assistance and Billing to see what they can do about their situation. That office will then go through the residents hall to see if they can accommodate the situation, and if they can, they will accommodate them,” Eltz said.
If rooms are not available in residence halls, then the office of Off-Campus Housing will help to place the students.
This isn’t the first time that Temple students have had to deal with a building collapse.
“Last year there was another apartment on North Broad Street that also collapsed. And we helped those students with that,” Eltz said.
Eltz said that it is important for students who are renting apartments and houses to do a thorough walk-through with someone who is able to recognize signs of possible infrastructure damage.
“If students have any real concerns, they can also call the [Philadelphia] Department of License and Inspection,” Eltz said.
Ignarri said that they received a lot of support from the university.
“The response from the Temple community was amazing. Later that day, a crisis team met with us to provide housing contacts and other relief aid,” Ignarri said.
Emily Catalano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.