12 OYS: Fire leaves Bon Air Apartment residents with flooded units

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / July 31, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Phillip Baxley said his living situation has gone from bad to worse following a fire at the Bon Air Apartments in Augusta. He said he was in the bed when the fire started.

The fire broke out in a kitchen two floors above his apartment. It was extinguished by the building's sprinkler system before fire fighters arrived. We found significant work being done in his apartment.

"Ain't no carpet on the floor. The ceiling is gone. Why would I stay in a place like that," Baxley said.

The dry wall in his apartment has been cut from the floor to about two feet up the wall, exposing wood studs, and old brick. It is the same in the hallways. Baxley said workers did not do all the damage in his apartment because of water damage from the fire.

"We've been complaining about the mold for years, but nobody ever did anything," Baxley said.

He said he and other residents have complained for years to management about other problems in the building, including moldy hallway carpets, and water stained ceilings. Baxley said many residents are too scared to talk on camera fearing they will be evicted in retaliation.

He said there was no advanced notice that apartments were going to be gutted which he said leaves many folks in a real jam.

"If they had let us know in advance that the contractor was going to come in and do all that, we could have moved our stuff out," Baxley said.

Code enforcement told News 12 there were no cases of mold in that building. It also said the carpets and walls were removed to prevent mold from forming after the sprinklers were activated from the fire.

A written statement from the corporate office:

"Resident’s sign a Renter’s Insurance Acknowledgment at move in so they are aware that we are not responsible for their personal belongings and they are encouraged to get Renter’s Insurance. As far as displacement, we haven’t “displaced” anyone, but we are transferring two residents so that we can work in their units."

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