ST. LOUIS – More St. Louis families say they’re stuck in a burned-out apartment building. St. Luke’s Plaza Apartments in Enright burned the day after Mother’s Day.
The fire broke out after an arson attack in one of the residential units. On Wednesday, FOX 2 helped find a new home for the man across the hall from where the fire started. On Thursday we found residents downstairs saying they still had nowhere to go.
“The smell, the smoke is all in the walls,” said Johnnay Brown.
Brown says it’s too smoky to turn her fire alarm back on.
“I had to take it out because the smoke was so heavy,” she said. “It just kept going.”
She can’t turn on the air conditioner because the vents are filled with soot.
It’s the second day in a row that we’ve been in the 24-unit apartment building. It was crushed by an arsonist on May 9. Firefighters rescued several residents and police arrested the suspect, who is now in prison for a felony.
More than a week after the fire, we learned that some families had nowhere else to go and shared this story from a man named Aaron Walker. His apartment is directly across from the hallway where the fire broke out.
Walker got results right after our interview. The housing administration got him a new apartment in another building nearby. We saw how he moved today and he told us, ‘Thank you because he needs help. We needed that help.”
Realizing there were others living inside, he added, “I hope the people downstairs get apartments and shelters and stuff because it’s bad.”
About half a dozen apartments still appear to be occupied. One Navy veteran, who asked not to be named, said, “A lot of people really can’t believe it.”
He added that he was too busy earning a paycheck to fight for himself to get out.
“I work a lot,” said the veteran. “I try to take my mind off everything that’s going on, so I work and I sleep. That just irritates me.”
A local doctor told FOX 2 that short-term exposure to soot can damage your airways, and long-term exposure can contribute to respiratory diseases.
Management said they agreed no one should live in the building and that they are working to find safe places for those who remain as soon as possible. The complex includes other residential buildings nearby that were not affected by the fire.
However, it seemed strange that we noticed the leasing office put up new balloons and signs saying “Leasing Now” overnight.
“So means units [are] available, and my boyfriend just got an application for an apartment, too,” Brown said.
The housing authority told FOX 2 offscreen that this does not mean a new applicant would get an apartment ahead of someone who is currently in a burned out unit.
They said the cleanup is continuing at a rapid pace and they will be taking the remaining people out of this smoky apartment building any day now.
https://fox2now.com/news/fox-files/more-st-louis-families-stuck-living-in-burned-apartment-building/ Other St. Louis families live in a burned-down apartment building