Quake Suit Focuses on Apartments that Held Up

Aftermath: The inspection might help explain why
the Northridge Meadows complex collapsed

Los Angeles Daily News - March 25, 1994

Attorneys representing families suing over the collapse of Northridge Meadows complex said they will examine an apartment complex next door that was built by the same architect and contractor, but survived the earthquake.

Demolition of the damaged 113-unit Northridge Apartments was ordered delayed Thursday by the Los Angeles Building and Safety Commission to enable the inspection.

"It was built by the same builder, designed by the same architect and engineered by the same engineer," attorney Joel Castro said. "I don't know if it (an inspection) will reveal anything, but that building is still standing."

The inspection is being conducted in a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of Angeline Cerone, 72, and Beatrice Reskin, 75, who were among the 16 people killed when the magnitude-6.7 earthquake collapsed portions of the three-story Northridge Meadows apartment complex.

Nobody was seriously injured in the neighboring complex.

A subpoena cleared the way for the inspection. Castro said he hopes that the inspection will help explain how and why Northridge Meadows collapsed.

Superior Court Judge Judith M. Ashmann last week ordered the "controlled" demolition of Northridge Meadows, which gives relatives of Cerone and Reskin a chance to collect evidence in their lawsuits against the building's owners, builders and architects.

On Wednesday, San Fernando Superior Court Judge William A. MacLaughlin, trailed by about three dozen attorneys, engineers, city officials and news crews, inspected the collapsed ruins.

The visit allowed the judge and attorneys to decide which sections should be dismantled layer-by-layer and which ones could be razed quickly.

Attorneys and structural engineers involved in the case will work with the city of Los Angeles, picking the building apart floor-by-floor and examining walls, structural connections and construction materials, Castro said.