HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Tense moments spilling over into rage this morning in Holyoke.
Twenty families no longer have a roof over their head after the partial roof collapse at 145 Essex Street.
The collapse happened Sunday and the families were put up in a local hotel until 11:00 this morning.
That's when those families tried to go back to the apartment and get their belongings back.
These families came back to Essex Street and received letters telling them the apartment has been condemned.
That letter says the building owner has thirty days to fix the brick problem, meaning thirty days these families are out on the street.
The building owner was on the premises today and tensions boiled over when the tenants confronted him when Western Mass News cameras were rolling.
Reporter: Sir, it would only take a moment. Can I ask one question?
"Busy now ma’am. Thank you," Lucjan Hronowski, the owner of the building at 145 Essex Street, tells us.
Western Mass News trying to ask Lucjan questions about the roof that partially collapsed Sunday.
Wednesday morning, the families who had been evacuated from the building no longer had shelter at a local hotel.
Twenty families came back to Essex Street to try to get medicine, food, and pets out of the condemned building.
As they crammed bags and their cars..
"We have a lot of stuff you know?" Holyoke resident Juan Gomez asked.
The tenants told Western Mass News they've struggled to get in contact with Hronowski.
"He’s not answering nobody. He’s just like nothing. He’s not responding to anybody," one Holyoke resident explained.
Until Hronowski himself came out of the building with his own belongings.
Western Mass News was able to ask Hronowski about the building commissioner's summation earlier this week that improper maintenance of the bricks caused the parapet to fall.
"You’re assuming it’s a lack of maintenance. [No, that was what the building commissioner said.] We've been, actually, we rebuilt the Walnut side and we we're getting ready to do the side. It just didn’t wait for us," said Hronowski.
When asked about financial responsibility for helping the tenants...
"We’ve contacted the adjusters in our insurance company," continued Hronowski.
The residents demanded their first and last month's rent back along with the security deposit.
The tensions boiled over when residents began blocking Hronowski’s vehicle.
Hronowski himself left the car and the situation spread down the street.
One tenant was taken away in a cruiser.
"I believe an assault and battery occurred that the officer witnessed and thats why that person was placed under arrest," Holyoke Police Captain Matthew Moriarty stated.
Kelly Laroe, a private advocate, arrived on scene to help the other families secure emergency essentials one final time from the building.
One by one, they were escorted into the building by police and animal control officers arrived to help with pets.
"Every single person sitting here as a victim," says Laroe.
The tenants were given emergency evacuation and condemnation letters from the city, which say Hronowski has thirty days to fix the building.
That's a month where twenty families will have their lives disrupted.
"You have a landlord, who is a known slumlord to the city. Not just in this building, but he has multiple buildings in the city," added Laroe.
The city is currently working to get the residents shelter for overnight as the snow begins to fall.