One of the River Towers condo buildings in Alexandria was evacuated after reports of structural damage.
It happened in one of the three towers on Wakefield Drive around 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon. River Towers is about three miles from Old Town Alexandria.
“It sounded like an earthquake. The whole building shook,” resident Rita Wood said. “I got really scared and we had to run out especially after seeing all those cracks on the walls, ceiling and our bedrooms."
Officials said some residents called complaining about cracks and crumbling of some bricks on the pillars outside of the building.
Investigators said 180 condos are damaged, 32 of those severely. Officials said a column shifted a few inches which caused part of the condo to crumble and crack.
Others complained of cracks in the walls on the second floor and said their doors would not close.
“We saw the marble facade begin to fall and already some feel from the front pillars so we ran and grabbed our overnight bags,” said resident Susan Berning.
Firefighters evacuated 400 residents Sunday afternoon. Sunday night most of them were allowed to go back home. However, it's still not safe for more than 30 residents to return home. The Red Cross has set up a shelter at Belleview Elementary School.
River Towers was built in the 1960's. Investigators said over time, water can cause structures to shift and that's what they said happened here.
Structural engineers are back on the scene Monday.