New photos show Waukesha condo damage, residents can return starting Thursday to move out

NOW: New photos show Waukesha condo damage, residents can return starting Thursday to move out

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Starting Thursday, the 48 families evacuated from the structurally-unsound Waukesha condo building will be able to briefly return to move their possessions out for good.

For the first time we're now seeing new video and photos of the structural damage that forced the emergency evacuation. Wednesday afternoon the city released several hundred pages of past inspections, and dozens of videos and photos of the damage.

The contractor says the building is salvageable, but the price tag will likely be far too high.

The newly-released photos and drone video show rusted beams, crumbling concrete, and extensive water damage. The structural damage was revealed when a contractor started removing the balconies on the Horizon West condo building.

Notes from the most recent building inspection say "there was visible corrosion from grade to the exposed beams." And "discussions onsite with the engineers and contractors indicated that work to repair the damaged structural members should be done as soon as possible."

The building was deemed structurally unsafe, which prompted an emergency evacuation order last Thursday night. The building was then temporarily shored up, and residents were allowed to return for 10 minutes at a time last weekend to grab what they could.

This week the contractor in charge of removing the balconies submitted a safety plan to the Waukesha fire chief. It was approved, and will allow residents to return starting Thursday, three at a time for four hours each.

Those residents can set an appointment to move out as many of their belongings as they can. Then they'll leave their homes, likely for the last time.

Condo residents say they cannot move forward with their insurance companies until they get official documentation from the city, including a raze order. But so far the city has not commented on the situation, and our repeated requests for an interview with the mayor and building inspection division have gone unanswered.

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