Residents forced from apartments in Camden after stairwell mishap

CAMDEN, N.J. - April 10, 2014

It began around 10:00 p.m. Wednesday when Paula Perdue was walking in a stairwell and fell through a step at the Baird Court Apartments at 1 East Randolph Street in Camden.

Perdue suffered a hairline fracture to her leg in the fall.

Perdue was in Building B when the steel stairway tread gave way. She grabbed onto the railing hoping she wouldn't fall a floor to the ground of her Camden apartment building.

"I was holding on to the rails. I was dangling with one leg down - the other was on the step," Perdue said.

She was able to pull herself up and sat on the step behind her. She hurt her leg and pulled muscles in her back but believes she's lucky her injuries weren't worse.

She was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

The building inspector called to the scene deemed the building unsafe because the damaged stairs left no way for residents in the upper apartments to get out of the building safely in an emergency situation.

Eighteen apartment units were evacuated immediately.

Today some residents came back to pick up their belongings. However, residents of two entryway apartments say they're not able to return to their homes until the repairs are made.

The Red Cross provided food and a hotel room for the night at a Gloucester City Quality Inn to seven families.

Many were not happy to leave their apartments.

"I'm sure they're not happy," said Rick Paul of the American Red Cross. "They do have utilities. They're comfortable in there. It's just a matter of ingress and egress. It's dangerous. We've had one woman fall and break her leg. It's just not a good situation."

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