- A barbed wire fence now encircles the Windermere Court building. Photo by Julija Kulneva
A rally is planned from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday outside the Windermere Court Apartments at 48th and Walnut to gather support for former residents, who still don’t have access to their belongings and pets more than a month after the fire.
Residents say they are staging the rally to make people aware of the lack of information and cooperation from the building’s owners.
The building had been deemed unsafe to enter, but residents have reportedly been told by the city that permission has been granted to the owner to allow people in. It’s the miscommunication that has former residents angry.
“It’s so frustrating,” said former resident Lara Figueroa. “Everything we find out, we find out a week after the fact.”
Residents have been told that the building will likely be at least partially demolished. The building’s owners were not available for comment.
Residents have also organized their own security of the building day and night to watch for potential looters and pets still stranded inside. The building is now surrounded by a barbed wire fence and has been padlocked.
“My biggest frustration is that we know that there are still pets in there alive,” said Figueroa. She said pets have been spotted in windows in the building, but no one has been allowed inside to rescue them.
West Philly-based feline rescue group City Kitties is joining the protest as well to help with recovering residents’ stranded pets.
City Kitties organizers write:
Despite obvious signs of life inside, no one took action–not the owners, not L&I, not the fire marshal, not the insurance investigators who all had access to the building. Just two days after this disaster, fire fighters said there was nothing more they could do and no possibility that cats could have survived.
Now the Windermere owners claim that the buildings’ exterior doors are sealed and that L&I [The city office of Licenses and Inspection] won’t allow anyone inside ever again–and yet a maintenance man, security guards, and insurance company investigators have accessed the building as recently as today, Wednesday February 9th. Meanwhile, the owners are moving forward with demolition, knowing full well that there are still pets inside!