Chesterfield family's apartment floor collapses as son bathed - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Chesterfield family's apartment floor collapses as son bathed

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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

It looks like something out of a disaster movie. A Chesterfield family contacted NBC 12 after the floor in their apartment opened up beneath their feet. It happened in the bathroom of a unit at the Wayside Apartments, off Hull Street. A mother says she was giving her child a bath when the floor just gave way.

"It was like a movie. I was just standing there and it just dropped," Katrina Vaughan said.

It's a memory she and her son wish they could forget.

"He was like, 'Mommy!'" she said.

While giving her boy a bath before school, the bathroom floor suddenly gave way.

"I had my feet dangling in the living room. You could see the toilet and the tub. My feet were down here and my head was upstairs. I had scooted myself up and pulled myself out and my son was terrified, screaming and crying," she said.

She went to the emergency room for pain and is now left with bruises. Right after the incident, Sterling Management transferred the family to another unit, but even the new apartment is in need of major repairs. The kitchen sink is not yet installed, one of the bathrooms isn't usable and hot water goes in and out.

"I had to take my shower 3:30 Monday morning to go to work in freezing cold water," Larry Vaughan said.

"We're a small family business. We try to address all of our maintenance concerns," said Joshua Bilder with Sterling Management.

He says the tenants are his customers and he wants them to feel safe. However, he said, "Unless we get a report from the tenant, we don't know," Bilder said. "If there's a soft spot on the floor, I mean these are wood floors. It's not like it just collapsed. There would have to be some wearing down of this space," he said.

"For them to act like it's our fault and not theirs, it's just crazy," Vaughan said.

"That could've been my baby. He would've went all the way through," Vaughn's wife said.

"You work hard and put all your money into giving your family a place to live and then boom, stuff like this happens, Vaughan added.

The family said an apartment agent reminded them they're still in a lease for five more months. Bilder said he would consider making an exception for the family after all they went through.

Sterling Management says it is diligently working to address concerns about the aging building, including problems in the family's replacement unit.  The company also says it has a history of working with its residents, though it admits the units are more than 50 years old.

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