Tenants scramble after City of Youngstown forced to tear down crumbling building

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — With no warning Friday, April Rossi and her four pets were homeless and the fledgling business Dion Jones started was forced to close.

The two were tenants in a 2929 South Ave. building that was condemned by city fire Chief Barry Finley after it began crumbling sometime Thursday into Friday.

Mike Durkin, head of the city’s Code Enforcement Department, said there were bricks falling while he was there. He ordered a crew to demolish the building.

Rossi and Jones were given a little more than an hour to take as much as they could in the pouring rain.

For Rossi, who lived in an apartment above Jones’ tire shop, that meant her two dogs, including T-Rex, and two cats, were out of a roof over their heads in the pouring rain. At least one of the animals is a service dog. Durkin said he was in contact with the Red Cross to find someplace where Rossi could stay with her animals but she was in tears.

“I lost everything,” she said as she and her son walked down the steps carrying appliances and other items who also helped with her cats. The cats voiced their displeasure as they meowed loudly in the rain. T-Rex, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy it.

Rossi said noticed a few bricks fell Thursday evening but she had no idea the building was on the verge of collapse. She said she was very worried about where she and her pets would go.

“I’m homeless,” she said.

Jones, meanwhile, and a group of coworkers were busy loading tires and equipment into a U-Haul truck. Jones said he has only been in business at the location for two months and was frustrated because of all the money he had invested to start up the business.

“We didn’t even get an hour to get out,” Jones said.

Records from the Mahoning County Auditor’s Office show the building was first built in 1935 and was remodeled in 1984.

Durkin said the building has been struck by a vehicle more than once but he was not aware of anyone running into it recently.

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