The last thing you expect to happen when you are having lunch at a food court is for the ceiling to fall on you.
But that’s just what happened when Crystal Pisa was eating with her family at the Pacific Plaza food court, at Cambie and Garden City roads.
“All of a sudden, the ceiling, the tiles just fell on us. There was water everywhere, food everywhere. We were very shocked and both of my sons started crying,” recalled Pisa.
The tiles were “fairly large,” according to Pisa, and covered the whole table when they landed before breaking off into little pieces.
“When the tiles fell, they fell right across the face of my younger son, aged 3. One hit him on the top of his head, scratching him all down his face, his forehead, his cheek and his nose,” said Pisa.
“My older son was drenched, soaking wet from head to toe, because there was water coming out of the ceiling when the tiles fell.”
A man in charge of the building on the day came to check the scene and talk to the family, but Pisa said his reaction was “disappointing.”
“He didn’t apologize to us, or check if everyone was ok. He was just assessing the situation and gathering information,” said Pisa.
The family reached out to the property manager later and received a short response saying that they were aware of the incident and had passed it on to the insurance company.
“It was very upsetting to us because the response was so cold, it was not reflective of what actually affected our family,” said Pisa.
“Yes, our stuff got damaged, but our children got hurt, and they were so upset for days after.
“It was so upsetting to know that the person managing the building did not even send out an apology or take any type of responsibility.”
Pisa added that it has been weeks and no one has followed up on the case or asked them questions.
Growing up in Richmond and now living in Surrey, Pisa said she and her family felt very comfortable going to places in Richmond until the incident happened.
“Obviously it’s something that’s preventable if they were managing and maintaining the building properly and doing inspections. Roofs don’t just collapse in on public spaces and people,” said Pisa.
“If this is one part of the building, I don’t know what else is going on in the building. It’s scary to think that it could be a lot worse. And we don’t feel safe, also, because we haven’t had a response or explanation for why it happened.
“We hope they are really looking into the incident and correct the issue. We are hoping to prevent further damage to other people.”
The City of Richmond said it is aware of the incident and that one of their inspectors went to investigate after a witness reported it.
“(It was) due to moisture leaking from the roof membrane above, inundating the tile. It represents a maintenance issue that has no bearing on the quality of construction,” said Ted Townsend, spokesperson for the city.
“The building management was made aware of the issues and expectations for maintenance by the attendant building inspector.”
He said constructions in Richmond are approved through a permitting process, and a building “should be safe regardless of the age” if being approved.
When asked how often buildings are inspected in Richmond, Townsend responded, “inspection schedules vary, depending upon a number of considerations.”
The Richmond News reached out to AA property management, the managers of Pacific Plaza. An employee, who refused to give her name, said no one from the company can respond to the incident and that it has been passed on to the insurance company.