Residents of a condominium complex on Folly Road have been ordered to leave their homes after severe damage was discovered in multiple stairways.
A report from the firm Spartan Engineering Services stated that the stairways at Pelican Pointe Villas, 1984 Folly Road, were in "near-collapse failure," and prompted inspections by Charleston fire and building inspectors, according to a statement by city officials.
In all, two buildings with 42 units each are involved, said Mike Julazadeh, chief fire marshal for the Charleston Fire Department.
"It is our opinion that, should these stairs be utilized/access for emergency purposes, such as during a fire, collapse will occur, either partial or complete of some or all of the stairs," the engineering firm's report stated.
The report cited unknown extent of damage from water and termites, and stated that temporary repairs may not be possible because there might not be enough undamaged structural material left to install temporary shoring, stairs or landings.
Following the inspection, the city issued an emergency order for residents to vacate until repairs are made, according to the statement.
"City staff verified the extent of the damage and reported unsafe conditions," according to the city's statement. "The city is working with the property management company to ensure that residents are able to safely access their units in order to retrieve medicines and other necessary items."
Edye Graves, the city's chief building official, said architects are preparing a plan "to provide a temporary solution that would allow residents to safely return to their units while long-term repairs are made."
The timeline for any kind of temporary or permanent fix is in the architect's hands and any plans will need to be reviewed by Charleston's Building Inspections Division before being carried out, Julazadeh said. City staff, however, pledged to expedite plan review to minimize permit delays.
City officials stated that residents should direct questions to their property management company. Officials have also requested that the management company provide city staff with the names of any residents in need of emergency shelter.
A representatives from the management company could not be reached for comment.