McDougald Residents Will Stay in Hotels at Least Another Week – INDY Week

On Thursday, Durhams public housing chief said that McDougald Terrace residents will remain in area hotels for another weekwhile contractors assess needed repairs for the hundreds of gas stoves, furnaces, and hot water heaters that were emitting unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.

With public school closings early next week for the Martin Luther KingJr. holiday, the Salvation Army, YMCA, and Boys & Girls Club will send buses to area hotels to give the children of relocated McDougald residents needed recreation and an opportunity to stretch their legs, Anthony Scottsaid Thursday afternoon.

Durham Housing Authority officials have also completed a carbon monoxide inspection of the Hoover Road complex, where they found 21 stoves with elevated carbon monoxide levels out of the communitys 54 apartments.

The authority also began an inspection of the 172-unit Oxford Manor complex, where officials found 23 defective stoves in 58 units.

Scott told reporters during a press conference at the agencys downtown officethat the McDougald Terrace assessment included determining whether to replace the gas stoves with electrical unitsor rely on a hybrid of both systems.

The DHA inspected 346 units at McDougald Terrace andfound 211 stoves with elevated carbon monoxide levels, along with 38 furnaces and 34 hot water heaters.

On January 3, DHA officialsbegan evacuating over 300 residents following reports of a massive gas leak at the citys oldest and largest public housing complex, which was built in 1953.

Scott said that although the evacuation was voluntary, families with children age two years and youngeror adults 65 and older were given top priority during the relocation.

Others who felt uncomfortable were given the option to relocate, Scott said.

In addition to elevated gas levels and ensuing gas leaks, Mac residents have contended with mold, lead paint, pervasive sewage problems that have led to concerns aboutcontaminated drinking water, bed bugs, roaches, deadly violence, and the deaths of three infants less than five months old between November 20 and January 1.

The state medical examiner reported earlier that carbon monoxide poisoning was not a factor in the infants deaths, but pathologists have not yet said what killed them.

Scott said the DHA has completed an inspection for mold. He noted that residents may be able to return to their homes if the mold problem is minor and can be repaired or eliminated while the places are occupied.

The DHA director said the costs for relocating the families in hotels and providing transportation for them had so far totaled $485,000.

Cost is the least of our concerns, Scott said. Safety is number one.

Contact staff writer Thomasi McDonald at tmcdonald@indyweek.com.

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McDougald Residents Will Stay in Hotels at Least Another Week - INDY Week

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