COLUMBIA, S.C. — It has been more than four months since a day that shook the lives of more than 400 community members.
On January 17, two men died from carbon monoxide poisoning at Allen Benedict Court apartments. A gas leak also displaced 411 residents, who were living in hotels until they could find permanent housing.
The two men, 30-year-old Derrick Roper and 61-year-old Calvin Witherspoon, Jr., were found dead inside their homes at Allen Benedict Court from carbon monoxide poisoning. A day after their death multiple gas leaks were discovered, and the entire property had to be evacuated, leaving 411 people displaced.
Since that day it has been an uphill battle for residents to find homes. In March, there were still at least 50 of 239 families still searching. The Columbia Housing Authorities goal was to have everyone in a permanent situation by the end of March.
Now, 26 families are still living in hotels. As for the rest of the community, 229 families have identified a place to live, 15 of them are waiting on inspections; 13 families have opted to move out of Richland County; and eight families are still searching for a permanent home.
The Housing Authority said the remaining families have been granted an extension for the Section-8 vouchers.