A mother and her 2-month-old infant were inside an apartment at 1024 Brookshire Court when the living room ceiling collapsed shortly before noon Wednesday.
According to East Side Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Lyn Mueller, “the whole ceiling in the living room just suddenly dropped.”
St. Clair County Special Emergency Services crews were initially dispatched in case the occupants were trapped, but the woman and her child were able to leave the unit without needing assistance. The mother was not hurt, but the infant was transported to a hospital as a precaution because the collapse generated lots of dust and debris, Mueller said.
The apartment complex, which is located along West Boulevard south of Belleville East High School, is owned by Bouse Apartment Homes. A maintenance employee working at the site said the drywall appeared to have been fastened only by nails and likely dated to the 1980s, long before the property’s current owner took over.
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Property owner Kevin Bouse said he bought the property last June and said he’s never had a ceiling collapse at that or any other of his properties.
“This is my first experience (with a ceiling collapse), and we’re going to make sure it’s our last one,” Bouse said.
He said his employees will check all the other second-floor ceilings in the complex to determine whether any other ceilings are in danger of falling.
Bouse also said he’s making sure the mother and child have a place to stay while their apartment is repaired, and will reimburse her for personal property that was damaged in the collapse.
“Whether or not she has renter’s insurance, we’re going to reimburse her (for damaged property),” Bouse said.