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Waltham officials evacuate 25 families from 1105 Lexington St.

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  October 29, 2012 08:20 PM

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Approximately 25 families are being evacuated from condominiums in Waltham after part of the roof blew off two buildings, according to Waltham police.

Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy said that the evacuations were taking place at 1105 Lexington St. after a building inspector declared it unsafe at 6:05 p.m. No one was injured, fire department officials said.

The Waltham Fire Department was called out to the condo complex first around 5 p.m., but cleared the scene. They were then called back out at about 6 p.m., McCarthy said.

At the complex on Monday night, two three-story buildings - labeled numbers eight and 11 - had visibly damaged roofs that looked as if they had been peeled back. One of the roofs extended about 10 feet over the edge of the building, and could be seen waving in the wind. Scraps of metal and wood littered the ground near the buildings, and caution tape marked off the buildings.

Tim McMahon, 32, who lives in between the two damaged buildings, said he remembers that the roofs had been replaced a couple of years ago.

McMahon said that at about 2:30 p.m., he heard a noise that sounded like thunder and then the fire alarm in one of the buildings next to him, but could not tell what was wrong until fire department officials showed up to evacuate the buildings.

"[The roof] was blatantly peeled back,” McMahon said. “It doesn’t look good. It doesn’t look sturdy.”

McMahon said that the roof also made a distinct creaking noise as it blew in the wind.

"Every little noise makes you want to take a step back," he said.

Fire officials said they could not answer if the roof's condition is deemed secure as Hurricane Sandy's wind continues to blow it back and forth tonight.

"Everybody is cleared there, and it has been turned over to the building's owners," said Waltham Fire Deputy Chief Andrew Mullin.

McCarthy said that officials directed the evacuees to the city's emergency shelter at Jonathan Bright Elementary School at 260 Grove St. However, most families have made arrangements to stay with friends and family, McCarthy said.

She said that the city has 150 cots and blankets for evacuees, which would have been enough to accommodate all 25 families if needed.

McCarthy said other than one other person using the emergency shelter, this is the only larger-scale evacuation in the city that officials are aware of.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com. Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com.

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