Senior fire hazard in my building

by Lady Lee 26 Replies latest jw friends

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    I live in an apartment building for seniors. It is a requirement that residents must be able to care for themselves.

    Across the hall and two doors down there is an elderly woman who lives alone. She is an alcoholic.

    In the 5 years since I have been living here there have been numerous incidents where she gets drunk, puts something on the stove and passes out.

    Yesterday I had to call the police again because we could smell something burning coming from her apartment. It hadn't gotten bad enough to set off the fire alarm. When the firemen arrived she failed to answer the door and they had to break the lock to get in. The fire wasn't bad enough for smoke to billow out once the door was opened but the smell was strong enough for the firemen to have to come out a couple of times for air. The woman walked out of the apartment needing to hold on to the wall for support. The firemen said they could smell alcohol on her breath. Initially they said she was unresponsive to them and she refused any medical attention.

    But there have been instances in the past when the fire was so bad it did set the alarms off. Once I watched the building caretaker run out of her apartment and bend over double choking from the smoke.

    So we have an alcoholic senior that forgets when she puts something on the store and has started numerous fires requiring numerous calls to the Fire Dept.

    Since smoke kills far faster than fire she is putting herself at high risk of an accidental death.

    She is also putting the other residents in danger. The man directly across from her is in a wheelchair. So am I although if there was a fire I'd be going down those stairs on my butt if I had to. The fellow across from her could not do that. The woman in the apartment could not get herself down the 5 flights of stairs either. There is also an elderly man who is recovering from a stroke and lives at one end of the floor and another woman who is bedridden at the other end of the floor. We could all be trapped up here with a fire.

    Now. . . . I live in a city where it is next to impossible to have people evicted. I feel bad for her but she is going to kill herself at this rate. And perhaps take a few of us along with her.

    I thought of the idea of a petition but one person in the building said that Russian people (most of these grew up in a communist Russia where putting your name on something could mean the death penalty) are really reluctant to get involved especially if it means signing their names.

    Can anyone think of a legal alternative to signing their names on a petition?

    Is there any other way that you might know to get this woman out of the building and into a supervised housing set-up?

    Any ideas would be appreciated.

  • mouthy

    Oh my goodness how awful Lee.

    Have you called the Police station to ask their advice about this. ?
    What about the M.P in your area? Surely something can be done to remove her


    Run her over in the Parking lot..

    Problem Solved..


  • PEC

    I would talk to the Fire Dept., they should know who to report this to. She is a danger to herself and others, you should not have any problem proving this.

    Good luck,


  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee


    I've talked to the Fire Dept and I might be able to get hold of every instance they have been called to that address. That proves a certain incompetence. The person on the pohone said in all his years in the dept he had never been asked about this problem. He gave me some good phone numbers to contact - like the phone number where I can get the list.

    I've been talking to all kinds of people today. Senior's Health, Housing, General Fire Office, Fire Prevention (left messagess so I wou't hear from them until Monday).

    The Senior's wanted to know more about her cleanliness of her apt. So their focus is more on her ability to care for her personal needs and her apt. -- not much help with what I want.

    Housing offices were focused on the resident's ability to fight an eviction - don't want that one.

    Just I did a search on the internet for Mental Health and Addictions. I spoke with someone who gave me the info that I have looked for - an involuntary commitment (Called "Form 2" here but every place has their own term for it). I have to create a file that shows she is a persistent danger to herself and others. If I can prove the case they will force her into the hospital for an evaluation which I am pretty sure she will fail.

    The forms are long and tedious but they might get us what we need - her to be placed in a supervised setting asap so that we are all safe.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee


    well my tires won't do the job and I have never seen her outside

  • Snoozy

    I would make sure I had fire extinguishers handy...a few of them.

    You mentioned in the beginning that the center has a requirement that they can take care of themselves? How can someone that is bedbound take care of themselves? Also if they are in a wheelchair is there an access where they can get out easy? If not the building sounds like a fire hazard itself. You can't really count on a Elevator in a fire..I would demand to move to the bottom floor..old people are an accident waiting to happen, I should know, I'm one of

    Edited to add...maybe if you get a really loud fire alarm so everyone in the building would be aware who is the reason for it going off..the other tenants would get tired of that and do someting about her..she needs to go somewhere that she can drink in peace without fear of wiping out a whole apartment building..



    If I lived closer I`d lend you the truck.


    Drag her into the parking lot,when she was passed out..

    I`ve got an old Black Blanket I could toss over her..

    If you got caught..You could say..

    You thought it was a Speed Bump..


  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Snoozy The bedridden lady has a husband and son and a nurse comes to see her daily so "we" the building mangement. are not providing a service. It isn't a centre just an apartment building for seniors. There are no services other than what any regular maintenance that any other building would have.

    I agree that having the accessible units on teh 5th floor was rather stupid but that is the way it was built. At 5 floors most ladder trucks can reach us easily.

    The building itself is in excellent condition and is concrete. Each apartment has concrete firewalls between apts. so it is pretty safe as far as apt buildings go. Finding wheelchair-accessible apts is just plain hell. I lived in a homeless shelter for 9 months before they found this place for me.. I only saw one other apt before getting this one and it was a real firetrap an d even though I would have been on ground level I much prefer where I am now.


    You are soooo bad it is funny

  • purplesofa

    Maybe they could take her stove/oven away from her?

    Like, she just lost cooking priveledges.

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