October 18th, 2022
Terris Harris and his team at The Cochran Firm Jackson are representing families of two women who were killed in an apartment fire in North Little Rock that was allegedly caused by a gas leak.
Harris is representing the families of Allewese Childs and Wanda Bell-Freeman who lived in the Shorter College Gardens Apartments. A fire swept through the complex on October 4th following an explosion, leaving 3 people dead and multiple families displaced.
During a recent news conference held outside of the apartment complex, Harris pledged that he and others at The Cochran Firm will conduct an independent investigation into the fire to get much needed information for the grieving families.
“In short we will do everything that we can to find the answers to hold all accountable for their actions or I should say their inactions so these families can be made whole,”-Harris
"What we do know from our investigation so far is that there were a number of complaints made about gas leaks. Nothing was done,"-Harris
Tenants at the apartment complex supposedly complained about what they thought to be a smell of natural gas before the fatal fire. Complaints also involved pointing out missing or faulty fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. Furthermore, the complaints allege that maintenance staff at the Shorter College Garden Apartments were not adequately trained at the time of the incident.
“Our investigation has revealed that someone dropped the ball somewhere down the line and they didn’t do their program pressure checks and things of that nature,”-Harris
The owners of the Shorter College Garden Apartments, the Millennia Companies, responded in a statement when questioned about the allegations involving the fire:
“I confirmed that, at this time, the investigation is ongoing. While the investigation continues, the property management and leadership teams are working together with officials to respond to this tragedy and to support residents. We are deeply grateful for the community leaders, elected officials, non-profits, and faith-based organizations who have been assisting residents in numerous ways during this difficult time, and we extend heartfelt sympathies to the families who are grieving loved ones.
Regarding your question about resident concerns, when a resident registers a concern, management generates a work order and determines the actions needed to address it. Generally, this process entails working with the maintenance team, engaging vendors, if needed, and partnering with the resident to ensure the issue is fully addressed. As mentioned during our conversation, there were no reports of gas leaks.”
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