NEWTON (CBS) – There is growing frustration for hundreds of people forced to evacuate their Chestnut Hill apartments because of a fire. More than 24 hours after the fire, firefighters and city officials were still waiting for final electrical testing results before letting people move back into The Towers of Chestnut Hill.

North Tower residents were cleared to move back in at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday night. Residents who live in the South Tower have to wait until at least Wednesday morning.

“It wasn’t easy. We were able to get my wife’s medications and that was it,” one resident said.

Residents came to the Chesnut Hill complex Tuesday wanting to know when they could come home.

“I feel displaced and frustrated that we don’t know what’s going on here,” another man said.

The Towers of Chestnut Hill apartment complex (WBZ-TV)

“It was rattling… inside my stomach was turning,” Connie Giesser said.

Overnight, the more than 800 residents displaced by the single unit apartment fire had to find a place to stay.

“Yes, with my son,” one woman added.

The fire has been ruled accidental.

Firefighters believe painters in the unit at the time placed a tarp over the stove.

“I saw flashes of light down the hall. I had to gather a few belongings and walk down 15 flights,” Giesser said.

Some were allowed to back inside this afternoon, only for what was necessary.

“There is no power no elevators there’s no way to get to your unit except by walking that’s a lot of work for the resident and the firefighters who have to accompany them,” Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, said.

Firefighters know the electrical system and the switch board to both towers were affected by the fire.

“It depends if the equipment has to be replaced, that’s going to take a little bit longer. If it is just about drying out, that would be more like 24 hours,” Chief Bruce Proia said.

“It is a very peculiar feeling to lose your home and I feel very unanchored,” Giesser explained.

The fire chief tells WBZ the move in process will likely be done in phases, one building at a time and floor by floor.

People are encouraged to keep checking the city’s website for updates.

They are also urging people to call the resident hotline, 617-796-1800.


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