COLUMBIA, S.C. — News 19 is learning more from former residents of the Allen Benedict Court apartments who feared for their safety while living on the property. One woman shared a letter she got from SCE&G with us and in it, she claims is solid proof that gas threatened her life.
"I was in the belly of Hell. I would describe Allen Benedict Court as the belly of Hell. That's where I was," Valomae Hamilton said.
Hamilton no longer lives at Allen Benedict Court. She moved out about a year ago.
All residents of the property have been evacuated after multiple gas leaks were found there on January 18. Residents will never be allowed to move back.
"I couldn't get the housing authority to come in and get rid of that odor, a gas odor," Hamilton said.
In 2014, she knew something was wrong when the smell of gas wouldn't go away.
"I kept thinking I could get help before I would die in there," Hamilton said. "I really thought I would die in there me and my two dogs. Nobody came so, I called SCE&G. He came out, one of their workers and he told me I could blow at anytime."
Hamilton kept the inspection document, dated October 26, 2014.
Here's what SCE&G found, the employee wrote: "the leak was on the flex line going to the stove, turned off at the cut off valve to make it safe and also disconnected for safety."
They also found a gas leak in her unit.
"It was like a ticking bomb," Hamilton said. "Tick, tick, tick, tick, until it couldn't go no further."
After dealing with this same issue years ago, Hamilton tells us she's not surprised gas was to blame this time, too.
"You never get nothing done until it's too late, until something happened and something happened just like now," Hamilton said.
Hamilton moved out of Allen Benedict Court a year later. She still lives in a property managed by the housing authority.
The other residents who were displaced by the gas leaks have been moved to temporary housing, and have been given vouchers to find a replacement home.
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.