Some Roosevelt residents refusing possibility of moving back into the high-rise

PITTSBURGH — Nearly a year after a devastating fire, residents of a downtown Pittsburgh apartment building are finally allowed to return. But, many tell Channel 11 they’re not interested in coming back.

An elderly woman died trying to escape a fire at the Roosevelt Building last December. The blaze left dozens without a place to live.

RELATED COVERAGE: Nearly 30 apartments uninhabitable after high-rise fire at Roosevelt Building

The attorney for the complex’s owners says they are sending out letters to former letters, letting them know they can reapply to move back in.

Former tenants told Channel 11 they would rather find a new place to live than return to the building. One woman said she has too much trauma from what happened the day of the fire.

“All of us say, we are never going back there,” said former tenant Percetia West.

West and her old neighbors at the Roosevelt are refusing to even consider the possibility of moving back into the high-rise.

“When it comes to my mind, I have to cut it short. It’s too much for me to handle.”

After the devastating fire, many tenants didn’t have a place to stay and ended up in hotels. They also had to fight to get their security deposits back.

“They don’t care about the residents. All they care about is being a billionaire, making more money, more money, more money,” West said.

It’s not only West who won’t return. Every tenant Channel 11 spoke with said they refuse to ever call the Roosevelt home again.

“We would never ask you for another unit as long as there’s breath in our body. And whoever did, I keep you all in my prayers,” West said.

The owner’s attorney said they aren’t sure how many units will be filled because their former tenants are likely signed onto other leases.

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