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WUNC reports from Greensboro about Guilford County and surrounding area.

Greensboro Plans To Inspect Apartment Building After Fire Killed 5 Children

Greensboro city skyline
Mark Goebel
Flickr, Creative Commons,

A petition is circulating to demand a thorough housing inspection of a low-income housing apartment building in Greensboro. Five children, who were Congolese refugees, died after a fire broke out Saturday.

Beth Benton co-manages Greensboro's Compliance division. She said there had been complaints against that apartment in the past, but it had been fixed and passed its last inspection in 2013.

"It means that it's clean, it's sanitary, it's healthy for occupancy. The plumbing systems work. The heat works. Windows are operable. It has smoke detectors that work, carbon monoxide (detectors), and anything else in the unit is working as it is designed and manufactured."

Benton expects a report from the fire marshal before the weekend. She said once she receives the petition from residents, her office can inspect every unit in the apartment building to make sure it's safe for residents.

"For me personally, it's the reason why I do this job. I am passionate, that everyone, regardless of income, color, where they're from, deserves a safe and healthy place to live. Everyone," said Benton.

"Nothing tragic should happen as a result of where you live. So, if by being diligent and applying our minimum housing code, we can prevent bad things from happening and people getting sick or injured in their homes, we've done a good job."

The building at 3100 Summit Avenue is managed by Arco Realty. The owner and management company did not respond to WUNC's requests for comment.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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