Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

4 Needed Treatment for Eureka Gas Leaks; Carbon Monoxide among Issues Plaguing Jacksonville Complex

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

4 Needed Treatment for Eureka Gas Leaks; Carbon Monoxide among Issues Plaguing Jacksonville Complex

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Pantazi

Four Eureka Garden residents needed medical attention in the past week because of carbon monoxide poisoning after the city first detected gas leaks earlier this month and demanded that the property owners fix it.

The complex has until Monday to fix the gas leaks, the city's fire marshal said. But while trying to fix those problems Tuesday, maintenance workers filled apartments with toxic gas.

On Oct. 2, the city flooded Eureka Garden with inspectors from code compliance, the building inspection division and the fire marshal's office. Those inspectors found hundreds of violations. They found roaches. They found mold. They found rusting stairs with holes covered in duct tape.

They also found gas leaks. Those gas leaks, the fire inspectors wrote, must be fixed immediately.

They also found no carbon monoxide detectors in any of the 400 units, Fire Marshal Chief Kevin Jones said. The complex now has those detectors in three out of 38 buildings, Jones said.

Global Ministries Foundation, a nonprofit that bought Eureka Garden and other federally subsidized housing projects with tax-free, low-interest housing bonds, has also attracted attention for poor housing conditions in Memphis and Orlando. It owns 836 units in Jacksonville.

On Friday, emergency responders took a resident to the hospital. She had passed out, Jones said, because of the carbon monoxide.

Then on Monday, fire inspectors found that gas was still leaking near her building. The inspectors gave Global Ministries Foundation until next Monday to fix the leak.

For gas-operated stoves to work without poisoning people, they need to have a flame burning.

On Tuesday, maintenance workers cut off the gas to the entire complex so they could fix the gas lines. Inside the apartments, the flames burnt out.

Then at night, while some people were sleeping, Jones describes what happened next:

The maintenance workers turned the gas back on. They knocked on doors to see if they could go inside to turn the flames back on but some residents didn't respond.

While the maintenance workers walked to the apartment office to get keys, the gas filled the apartments. …

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