A Durham, North Carolina public housing complex has recently been placed under investigation for its notably poor housing conditions. The complex, McDougald Terrace, has failed inspections by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development since 2018, resulting in the hospitalizations of multiple residents. High levels of carbon monoxide were found in 50 of the 140 units that were recently inspected.
Durham Housing Authority (DHA) officials have conducted inspections of many units and installed or replaced carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to try and prevent injury or death in these residential units. However, many are calling for more action to be done to protect those who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of carbon monoxide—the elderly and children.
The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is typically produced wherever coal, gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, or wood is burned. Many homes and places of work have carbon monoxide detectors to alert residents when carbon monoxide is at dangerous levels.
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when there are high concentrations of carbon monoxide. The gas replaces oxygen within the body and can starve vital organs such as the heart and brain. Common symptoms begin with headaches, fatigue, and nausea, but can increase to more serious symptoms with higher concentrations of the gas.
This silent but deadly killer has become more and more common in living spaces, causing thousands of innocent victims to sustain significant injuries. In many cases, injuries and casualties could have been avoided.
Durham Housing Complex’s Carbon Monoxide Issue
The carbon monoxide problems at McDougald Terrace seem to be related to stoves, heaters, and water heaters that appear to leak the gas. The faulty condition of these units and appliances are assumed to be caused in part by the old age of the complex but could also be aggravated by the reduction of funding in staffing and maintaining the premises.
Hundreds of voluntary evacuations have taken place as residents of the McDougald Terrace have tried to avoid exposure to the deadly carbon monoxide. Dozens of residents and activists attended community meetings to push for answers surrounding the unsafe living conditions at the housing complex. Residents are calling for serious action to improve the lives of those who call the complex home.
Poor Living Conditions
When a person rents or buys a place to live, they do not expect to deal with such poor living conditions that their health and life is threatened. Unfortunately, some housing complexes do not have the highest level of safety for their residents. This can result in serious injury, hospitalization, and possibly even death. After the most recent investigation concluded, the percentage of units in McDougald Terrace classified as life-threatening rose 150% from 24 to 60. Overall deficiencies in health and safety were tallied at 1,871.
As a resident, you and your loved ones have rights to safe living conditions. Whether dealing with poor conditions as a result of gas leaks such as carbon monoxide, unsafe water, or even a lack of heat—you should talk to an attorney right away to hold the property owner accountable. Poor housing conditions can be associated with a myriad of health conditions, such as asthma, poisoning, and mental health issues. Legal counsel could assist you or a loved one who has suffered injuries due to a carbon monoxide leak.
Speak with an Attorney Today
At the Whitley Law Firm, we have years of experience dealing with premises liability claims. Our knowledgeable and dedicated attorneys could be by your side every step of the way to help you pursue the justice you deserve. From the initial consultation onward, our lawyers could be there to help you defend your right to safe living conditions.