DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — After weeks of going apartment to apartment looking for carbon monoxide leaks, crews finished inspecting all of the apartments at McDougald Terrace on Tuesday.
According to officials with the Durham Housing Authority, crews inspected 346 homes and found stoves emitting carbon monoxide in 211 of those apartments. In addition, DHA officials said that 38 furnaces and 35 hot water heaters will need to be replaced as well.
“We are beginning to put together an action plan now and how we plan to go about making these updates,” said Anthony Scott, CEO of the Durham Housing Authority. “We need took at what renovations will be needed and the amount of time we expect it to take.”
Scott said officials still don’t know when families can return home. He said it all depends on the repairs that need to be made to various apartments.
“We’ll decide whether we can do it with residents in place or without,” Scott said. “All of that will be determined over the next few days we hope.”
As a precaution, Scott said crews have started inspecting five other public housing complexes that also use gas stoves.
Scott said crews have started inspecting units at the Hoover Road apartment complex and they will soon be inspecting the homes at Oxford Manor, Laurel Oaks, Club Boulevard, and Edgemont Elms.
Scott said that evacuations are not currently happening at those apartment complexes, but he said that does not mean they won’t happen later.
“If it becomes a situation where it’s something that can’t be immediately dealt with, we would offer that person an opportunity to leave if they chose to,” Scott said.
On Tuesday morning, the City of Durham held a press conference to talk about efforts by both the city and the county to help out families at McDougald Terrace.
“Our hearts go out to the residents who have been relocated from McDougald Terrace,” said Durham Mayor Steve Schewel.
Schewel said it will likely be a while before any long term renovations are done at McDougald Terrace because the housing complex is so large and it will take a significant amount of money to redevelop.
However, Schewel said he is pushing for emergency capital funding that will go toward relocation needs for residents during the short term.
“For 40 years, our community has failed these people and the people who live in this housing community and others before them,” Schewel said. “We are here now to tell them that they are not alone and we will do everything in our collective power to make this right.”
Durham County officials at the news conference also talked about their efforts to protect the McDougald Terrace residents during this time.
For instance, county officials said they are performing regular welfare checks to make sure all of the families who stayed at McDougald Terrace are safe.
McDougald Terrace resident Ashley Canady also spoke at the news conference and thanked the community for their donations and help.
Canady said even when the families do get to return back to McDougald Terrace, she said the families will still need the community’s help.
“I want you guys to remember us after this happened,” Canady said. “Come back to our community once the cameras are gone, and come stand with our community because we will come home.”
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