COLUMBIA, S.C. — At a special called meeting of the Columbia Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Director Gilbert Walker said they will put carbon monoxide detectors at every CHA property that uses gas utilities or appliances.
Walker claims their apartment complexes have already been supplied with CO detectors, but the roughly 250 individual CHA houses are a work in progress.
He expects work to be done at all the houses by early next week.
Up until the two deaths at Allen Benedict Court last month, Walker claimed he did not know of detector requirements.
“To my knowledge, it is not a requirement that HUD has. HUD came into our units in 2017 and carbon monoxide detectors were never mentioned. It was never mentioned. I found out about it a couple of weeks ago that a new law was passed in 2015, but I don't know how good the information got out to individuals. My understanding is that everybody that's got housing, including in your own personal house, that you're supposed to have it in, and I doubt if that that's the case right now,” Walker told a board commissioner.
The commissioner, Jennifer Rubin, had asked if it was a HUD requirement to inspect Section 8 housing for carbon monoxide detectors.
The Columbia Housing Authority's own ‘Administrative Plan for the Housing Choice Voucher Program,’ which is posted to the authority's website, says it is a requirement.
Under a section titled ‘Life Threatening Conditions,’ it lists inoperable or missing carbon monoxide detectors as a priority.
The document says that those type of violations must be fixed within 24-hours of being found and recorded.
The document lists carbon monoxide detectors as a Columbia Housing Authority policy. The document is dated July 1, 2017.
WLTX has reached out to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation for more clarity on South Carolina building code.
WLTX's Deep Dive team has done extensive work in exposing what's been happening at Columbia Housing Authority. During our pursuit of the truth, two of our reporters were even arrested, but we were later issued an apology.
WHAT WE'VE FOUND:
In our investigation, we've uncovered previous maintenance problems in the units at Allen Benedict Court, that showed there were concerns about the units well before January 17th. We have a mountain of documents related to the case, as well as interviews with residents, and we continue to present new information each day.
You can see more into our probe below:
There have also been multiple lawsuits filed in connection to the case. You can see our coverage of those below.