Roof damage reported at Knoxville non-profit housing facility after storms

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – People had to be evacuated from a Knoxville non-profit housing facility after its roof was damaged in Wednesday night’s severe storm.

The damage was reported at Positively Living at 1501 E. 5th Avenue at the intersection with Winona Street. There are no reports of injuries, but 27 people were displaced.

Malik Summerlins was in the building when the roof collapsed.

“It was quiet and then a loud bang, a boom sound, and everything went black,” said Summerlins.

There was also significant flooding to the property.

Summerlins says he thought a tornado was ripping through the building.

“Water came down from the ceiling and it flooded the whole hallway and the whole entire hallway upstairs and then it went downstairs into the kitchen.”

Matt McAdoo with Positively Living says the damage is significant.

“It removed the roof from a large portion of the building, causing some pretty significant water damage inside the building and as a result the power was cut and all of our tenants had to be evacuated.”

Residents were transported to the American Red Cross shelter via KAT bus. Engineers are expected to look at the building for structural damage.

“We got the shelter up and going, we got cots there, places for people to sleep,” said Kendra Taylor with Red Cross. “We had some disaster spiritual care there for them overnight. Again, just kind of getting them in, getting them as comfortable as the can be and just a place to stay for overnight.”

Charles Peebles was able to go up to his apartment Thursday morning. He says it is unrecognizable.

Positively Living is a non-profit agency that provides housing and support for people who are homeless, mentally ill, suffering from addiction and/or living with HIV/AIDS

“I was just devastated by what I saw,” said Peebles. “Everything that I had was water soaked. The tile from the ceiling had fallen and they were all over the floor and everything and basically everything was destroyed.”


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