North Hudson man still in search of housing after storm ripped roof off of apartment
From the air, you can see the full extent of damage to the top of Eddie Ratledge’s North Hudson apartment building after high winds ripped through the area last week.
“It’s like the roof got peeled off like a sardine can,” he says.
On July 24, 75-85 mph winds sheared the roof off of the Lemon Street building, buried cars and toppled hundreds of trees.
“I mean, it just came out of nowhere,” said Ashley Henkel, who was out walking her dog, Toby. “At first it was really still and all of a sudden the wind just picked up and within two minutes it was over.”
But the damage was done, and Ratledge found himself right in the middle of it.
“Ceiling tiles in the kitchen started crashing down, and I was really wondering what the heck was going on,” the 55-year-old recalls.
Ratledge, taking a nap in his top-floor apartment, was suddenly awakened around 2:30 pm.
He thought it was his two cats playing.
Instead, he saw daylight where it shouldn’t be.
“I look up and I see nothing but clear blue sky,” Ratledge remembered. “No ceiling, no tiles, no nothing. I’m like, ‘What the heck, where’s the ceiling?’”
One of those crushed cars?
Ratledge’s Subaru has a smashed windshield and other damage, but it’s still drivable.
“It’s horrible,” declares Melissa Nelson, a longtime friend. “I used to live in the apartments here and here.”
Nelson is trying to help get Ratledge back on his feet, setting up a crowdfunding effort.
Right now Ratledge is living in a hotel. He’s only been able to recover his CPAP machine and some clothes from his damaged apartment.
“It’s heartbreaking, knowing he’s lived here for 18 years, and it’s hard to see something like this happen,” Nelson says.
And the cleanup isn’t over.
Henkel says a toppling tree just missed her house.
She feels for Ratledge and other tenants in the damaged building.
“I don’t know, and it’s really sad, and I’m sure they weren’t prepared for it either,” Henkel nsaid. “Nobody was expecting this storm, and it just happened.”
The landlord of the apartment building says it’s now condemned but that Ratledge will be permitted to go back in and retrieve items left behind — with supervision.
Ratledge says meanwhile he does have some leads on a new home.
The good news?
No one was hurt, and Ratledge’s two cats have been recovered and are now safely at a veterinarian’s office.
Still, the impact of the storm has left him shaken.
“I’ve never seen anything like this type of storm before in my life,” Ratledge says. “It’s just unreal.”