McDougald Terrace residents to remain displaced for at least another week

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Residents who evacuated a Durham affordable housing community amid carbon monoxide concerns will be displaced for at least another week, officials said Friday.

There are still 127 unoccupied units left to inspect at McDougald Terrace, including the work being done Friday. Inspections of occupied units were completed Thursday.

Elevated carbon monoxide levels were found in 34 more units on Thursday, bringing the total thus far to 84 affected units.

About 270 families are in hotels, officials said. A community meeting will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Burton Elementary School. Transportation and lunch will be provided.

Sources sent CBS 17 photos of some of the gas appliances the company HVAC company tested for carbon monoxide.

In the photos, many of the appliances have collected dust and sources said that they have tested at dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

One gas stove tested at 150 parts per million for carbon monoxide, which is a dangerous level, according to a course.

Sources have also told CBS 17 that there is improper venting in every single apartment at McDougald Terrace. However, sources said the main reason for the high carbon monoxide levels is the gas stoves.

CBS 17 has also learned from a source that the HVAC company is recommending that the gas stoves be replaced with electric stoves.

In addition, CBS 17 is told the HVAC company is also recommending all of the apartments have the gas shut off completely.

If this happens, then all the tenants will not be able to come back until new heaters are in place.

At a press conference on Friday afternoon, the Durham Housing Authority’s CEO Anthony Scott was not aware of the recommendations from the HVAC Company, Hay’s Heating and Air Conditioning.

“We need to figure out, what is the best way to make sure those units are safe, whether it means actual repairs, or switching to electrical stoves,” Scott said. “That’s what we’ll be assessing over the next week.”

On Thursday, the medical examiner’s office released a statement that said preliminary and confirmatory testing showed three recent infant deaths in Durham County were not linked to carbon monoxide.

Last week, officials with EMS said at a community meeting that two infant deaths at McDougald Terrace may have been linked to the recent carbon monoxide exposures at the McDougald Terrace public housing complex.

Officials with the medical examiner’s office did not release the causes of death.

Antanesha Burnette is the aunt of Britain Brown, one of the three babies who recently died at or near McDougald Terrace.

“He looked so peaceful and content, he didn’t look sick or anything,” Burnette said. “We have documentation that can be provided that my nephew was completely healthy. There’s no other way he could have possibly passed away.”

Burnette said, for now, all her family can do is wait for the final autopsy to come out. She said while families wait for the Durham Housing Authority to replace gas appliances at McDougald Terrace, she just hopes this does not happen to someone else.

“You’re replacing these things, but we can’t replace my nephew,” Burnette said. “That’s the frustrating part.”

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