Raze order issued for Waukesha's Horizon West condo building

The city of Waukesha has issued a raze order for the Horizon West condominiums that were evacuated due to the threat of collapse on Dec. 2, 2021.

Sixty-five condo residents were displaced as a result of the evacuation, which came unexpectedly on a Thursday night.

Waukesha Fire Chief Steve Howard in a letter to property owners, obtained by FOX6 News, said copies of the order were made available at a Waukesha fire station for pickup as early as Thursday, Jan. 6. They will remain available through Jan. 19.

SIGN UP TODAY: Get daily headlines, breaking news emails from FOX6 News

The building was temporarily braced the day after it was evacuated. Residents were periodically allowed back inside for short periods of time to grab essential belongings, such as medication. 

An independent structural engineering report found the building was "at an imminent threat of collapse due to compromised conditions of existing structural columns," police said at the time.

Waukesha Fire Chief Steve Howard explained that the issues are due to a combination of factors, including damage from a 2019 wind storm, which was revealed when removing balconies.

"You had a column that had two balconies attaching it, so it was attached at multiple floors. In order to remove the load of the balconies, the tie braces had to be removed so you had a column that was very weak and loose," Howard said.

Timeline of reported issues

According to a news release from Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly's office Friday afternoon, the city has been aware of issues with the Horizon West Condominium over the last year and a half. 

In 2020 and 2021, the condo association made multiple attempts to hire contractors, the release said. 

  • June 2020: Complaints of structural issues of the balconies were reported by residents. Those issues were ordered to be remedied. An engineering analysis was also to be completed and provided to the city.
  • October 2021: The balconies were ordered to come down, and more structural deficiencies were uncovered in the frame and columns.
  • November 30: A structural engineer noted deficiencies in the load-bearing structure of the building. The city was then informed to decide next steps.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.

Colorado wildfire devastates Brookfield family; home reduced to ashes

A Brookfield family's Colorado home was reduced to ashes during a recent devastating wildfire.

Republican National Convention: Milwaukee named 2024 finalist

Milwaukee has been named a finalist to host the 2024 Republican National Convention, party officials confirmed to FOX6 News Friday, Jan. 6.

Milwaukee Public Museum closing temporarily, COVID staffing shortages

The Milwaukee Public Museum will be temporarily closed to the public due to staffing shortages amid the ongoing surge in regional COVID-19 cases.