Retaining wall collapses in Fairview; dozens displaced

Posted: Updated:
FAIRVIEW -

Heavy rain and flooding caused a retaining wall to collapse in Fairview and now dozens of people may be permanently displaced.

A major drainage pipe unexpectedly shifted last week, causing storm water to flood the streets near the Fairview Gardens apartment building twice last week. The flooding and collapsing retaining wall forced the apartment residents to evacuate. Officials say that the damage is so extensive that the residents may not be able to return.

Tenants attended a meeting at Fairview Borough Hall Monday afternoon to find out where they are going to be relocated and how much the town is responsible for what happened.

MORE: News 12 New Jersey Weather Center
Photos: Flooding around New Jersey

“It's not negligent. Too much water came too fast and it's maybe a 100 year old pipe,” says Fairview Mayor Vincent Belucci. “It just unfortunately cracked and created this water flow down Fairview Avenue.”

Fairview Mayor Vincent Belucci says that unfortunately the town does not have the resources to relocate the 30-someodd residents.

The American Red Cross has paid for two nights at a hotel for the residents, but they will need to find alternative housing come Monday night. Bergen County Social Services was on hand at the meeting to provide rental assistance and temporary lodging.

But the question still remains about the structural integrity of the complex. Borough engineer Berge Tombalakian says that the owners are still assessing the damage.

“Earlier today, they outlined what they planned on doing in terms of whether the buildings are safe to occupy or not and that work is going to be ongoing and we will be pressuring the owner to move as fast as possible to get those answers,” he says. 

Many of the tenants tell News 12 New Jersey that they feel frustrated by the whole situation. They say that they are owned their security deposits and a month’s rent. But they say that if they take it, they relinquish their claim to come back to their apartment.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."