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'It's hard': Waukesha condo residents have mere minutes to pack essential items Saturday morning

Up to 5 people were allowed inside for 10 minutes
Posted at 5:12 PM, Dec 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-04 18:12:27-05

WAUKESHA — Residents at Horizon West Condominium had 10 minutes Saturday morning to gather what they could from their homes.

On Thursday, tenants learned there was a chance the building could collapse. A contractor told us no one will be able to live in the building, and it will need to be demolished.

One by one homeowners walked away from the place they've called home.

"This was for emergency stuff primarily or necessary things. Some people got out so fast they didn't even take their toothbrush," said Ione Kohler, Horizon West Association President.

Residents used carts and wagons to pack what they could.

John Glazer gathering his stuff from the Horizon West Condos
John Glazer gathering his stuff from the Horizon West Condos

John Glazer has called the Horizon West Condos home for seven years, and he told us how hard it is to pack in just 10 minutes.

"What do you take?" "You leave all the stuff you truly love behind and take only what you need," Glazer said.

Beyond the clothes, and bedding he took there's something else he is worrying about.

"I have a mortgage for a building I can't live in," he said. "I don't know if people can understand that." "With this news all of that money is down the drain, nobody can recoup anything," Building Manager Al Pulcifer added.

However, even though residents left their homes suddenly, people are thankful.

"Bitter sweet, bitter sweet," Kohler stated. "We're alive, it did not collapse."

Residents were able to stay at hotels for the last two days courtesy of the Salvation Army and starting Saturday morning, the American Red Cross is stepping up by providing a safe place to stay.

Cot beds inside the Elmbrook Church
Cot beds inside the Elmbrook Church

The Elmbrook Church in Brookfield opened their doors for the community and allowed the American Red Cross to set up a temporary shelter for people in the gym.

John Kern with the American Red Cross said they have the capacity to house all 65 residents, but only 5 to 10 people have indicated they will stay at the church for now.

"Anyone that would need somewhere to go tonight and the next couple of days we'll be there for them," Kern stated.

In the mean time, he hopes this emergency lodging will help ease some of the burden. "We definitely will lead with compassion try to make it as homey as possible," Kern said.

Kern said volunteers with Red Cross will help families put together a plan for the next steps in their recovery.

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