SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s been over a week since Suffolk Tower Apartments residents could go inside of the building.
On Friday, residents were spotted moving out.
Tammy and David Mount grabbed a few small items from their fourth-floor apartment.
“We didn’t know we could get stuff out today,” they said. “We just happened to walk in, and Mike said go ahead.”
The building’s maintenance manager, Mike Queen tells 10 On Your Side residents on each floor had two- hours to move “essential items.”
More residents will be able to move items Saturday morning. However, fifth-floor residents will not be allowed in the building to move items.
All of this comes after officials charged 69-year-old Herbert Boothe with arson and sexual battery. Court records obtained by 10 On Your Side state that Boothe admitted to “lighting a chair on fire” on the fifth-floor, displacing dozens of people.
The records also show that Boothe was rushed to a hospital following the incident. It was there where he scratched a nurse on the chest and arm, as well as spit in a police officer’s face.
He is now also facing sexual battery and assaulting an officer charge.
“Everybody is just kind of in shock right now still,” added building resident David Mount.
In a statement sent to WAVY.com on Thursday, the building’s attorney Scott Alperin said the owners of Suffolk Towers Holding Company will no longer pay for hotel accommodations.
Now, the City of Suffolk will pick up the tab and pay for 36 hotel rooms until Tuesday.
This is a blessing to the Mounts.
“The city helped us out, social services helped out, extended our stay until Tuesday,” they said. “Which was good.”
In total, 44 tenants now must find a new place to call home.
City spokeswoman released a statement Friday:
The Suffolk Department of Social Services In-Take, while working with Cheryl Griffin, Sheltering Liaison, has confirmed that following contact from displaced Suffolk Tower Apartments tenants, a total of 36 Suffolk hotel rooms have been secured for a total of 44 tenants.
The City of Suffolk remains in contact with the property Owner/Manager, Mr. Scott Alperin, Suffolk Towers Holding Company, LLC, and has requested to be made aware and provided a timeline as to when their contractor begins assessment and repairs, as Suffolk staff will prioritize inspection efforts around their efforts and progress.
Further, Mr. Alperin has been made aware that the City of Suffolk is coordinating efforts with community leaders to keep his Suffolk Tower tenants, currently housed in Suffolk hotels, in place, at least until Tuesday, July 27, 2021, since it was our understanding that he/they would no longer be paying for hotel rooms for those that had been displaced effective today, Friday, July 23, 2021.