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Was Denton apartment collapse avoidable? Tenants say absolutely

DENTON -- You probably saw the video by now. Dozens of people in Denton jumping to the music of an apartment party before the floor gave way, dropping many of them into the apartment below.

But did you think about the eight young women living in the two apartments below the massive party?

"The third floor was laughing at the fact that we were all soaking wet and scared," first-floor tenet Rochelle Carney told NewsFix Monday.

They were scared because, from their first-floor unit, they had no idea what just happened above them.

"It was a really loud one," Carney said, describing the sound of the floor caving in two floors up. "Like, one really heavy one and a bunch of screams."

Carney actually called police that night to report the party, and the women on the second floor were on their way to alert police in person when it happened. For both, it was far from the first time.

"I've called specifically the police three times. I have three reports on file with them," Carney said, admitting that there have been at least five other times this semester that she chose to just ignore the noise from upstairs.

She claims the manager at The Ridge at North Texas has also heard from her in the past.

"Her answer was, 'Well, did you talk to the police?'" Carney said. "I said yes, and she said, 'Well, what the police can do is all that can really be done.'"

Is that true, though?

The lease for Carney's apartment outlines a four-step process for punishing residents who break community guidelines, and excessive noise is one of those.

The steps are:

  • First: A written warning will be issued to the resident, specifying the complaint that was filed
  • Second: Upon a second complaint, which is not disproved by resident, a $50.00 fine will be assessed against resident
  • Third: Upon a third complaint, which is not disproved by resident, a $100.00 fine will be assessed and the parent or sponsor signing the Guaranty will be notified
  • Fourth: A fine shall be imposed in the amount of $200.00 and the landlord may, in its discretion, declare the lease to be in default. In order for a resident to disprove a complaint, it is understood the burden of proof is upon the resident who must refute such charge with clean, convincing and indisputable evidence.

A representative for The Ridge said he asked managers at the complex if they had a file on that apartment and was waiting for a response Monday afternoon.

Either way, the innocent bystanders who claim they've been warning anyone they could for the past three months, are stuck in a hotel with none of their belongings and an uncertain future.

When asked if she had any idea what she'd do to get her things in order, Carney answered simply, "No."

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