ADVERTISEMENT

LOCKPORT – A 12-unit apartment building in the Town of Lockport, ordered closed Friday after a staircase collapsed and injured two women, was reopened today.

Town Building Inspector Brian M. Belson said of the repairs, “They’re not done, but they’re done well enough for the people to move back in.”

The building at 6559 Lincoln Place was shut after a wooden stairway caved in Friday evening. That left the building in violation of fire codes that require more than one escape route for residents on upper floors. Only one route was left after the collapse.

Town Supervisor Marc R. Smith said the building was allowed to open at 11 a.m., which was the time that the Red Cross housing vouchers that 17 residents received were to expire.

Smith said he called the Lockport Inn and Suites, where many of the residents were staying, to have staffers there alert the residents that it was legal to return to Lincoln Place.

Belson said he ordered the landlord, Michael R. Morgante of Clarence, to rebrace all stairs in the building.

“He’s got five other sets of stairs [to work on],” Belson said.

Belson previously had ordered Morgante to obtain engineering drawings for the stair repairs. He did so through Apex Contracting of Lockport. J & D Enterprises, a Middleport flooring company, built the new stairs.

The plaster ceiling beneath the wooden staircase fell as children were running up and down stairs Friday, according to the residents who injured.

The plaster fell on residents Cynthia Hazzard and Tara Gibson, both of whom were treated in Eastern Niagara Hospital Friday night for head and neck injuries and released.

Belson said Morgante owns two other buildings near the rear of the Lincoln Place complex, off Lincoln Avenue. The inspector said he doesn’t anticipate repair work in the others.

Smith said, “I don’t think they were all built at the same time by the same builder.”

The apartment house where the stairs collapsed was built in 1988, according to town assessment records. Morgante bought it in 2010 for $290,000.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com