Hundreds of code violations found at Greensboro apartments where 5 children died earlier this month

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- People who live in an apartment complex in Greensboro may soon see the changes they’ve been demanding.

The city’s code compliance division manger, Elizabeth Benton, says the owners of the property at 3100 Summit Ave. will need to fix more than 200 violations. Members of the Agapion family own the apartments.

People who live at the complex started a petition for the city to inspect their space shortly after five children living in one of the units died in a fire.

Although investigator say the fire started due to unattended cooking, the attention to the complex gave people the opportunity to voice their concerns.

One current resident, who chose to remain anonymous, said there are a lot of issues in her unit that need to be fixed.

“I put in a work order for my refrigerator months ago, since I moved in, and I haven't received her new refrigerator yet,” said the anonymous renter.

Saidi Shomari said he used to live there.

“The mice and rats are too much,” Shomari said.

On Friday, Benton said she experienced some of those complaints firsthand, but said the amount of violations are common.

All 42 unties had at least five violations in each. There are exterior violations too.

“I've been with code enforcement five years and I've been doing inspections for 20 years and I've seen worse and I've seen better,” Benton said.

Benton also said the owners have always fixed the problems when addressed. They already fixed three major issues involving water, sewage and smoke detectors this week.

Benton says the other hundreds of violations are minor, like leaky roofs and holes in the walls.

A hearing will be set for the owners to fix those problems soon. After that, they will have 30 days to make the changes or prove they are making significant headway.

Byron Gladden is helping organize the funeral on Saturday for the five children killed. He also helped put together the petition which led code compliance to the complex.

“I'm not surprised at the number of violations because I feel that this is common for northeast Greensboro,” Gladden said. “When are we going to address the housing concerns that are impacting our non-English speaking citizens, our people of color in these areas because they are the most discriminated against? They don't have a lot of options.”

Benton says she has already learned from this.

“We need to really work harder with our agencies that work with the refugees and immigrant populations and others where English is a second language and do a lot more outreach and education,” Benton said.

FOX8 received this statement from Irene Agapion from ARCO Reality:

“The fire department determined that unattended cooking caused the fire, NOT a maintenance problem with the stove, smoke detectors or a failure to meet other life safety requirements in unit 3100-E Summit. The fire was a tragic accident unrelated to anything ARCO did or did not do. ARCO is committed to providing safe, affordable housing for its tenants. ARCO does not object to local officials inspecting properties.”

Agapion also wrote that they will fix the new issues that received violations.

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