Tenants of a Chicago apartment building are demanding the owner and manager make repairs after a fire broke out in the apartment complex, causing a boy to suffer second- and third-degree burns to 90% of his body.

The residents at the Indian Trails Apartments formed the West Pullman Tenants Association to press the owner and manager of the complex to address issues like water damage, mold, electrical issues and rodent infestation. The 50-year-old building is an affordable housing community located in Chicago’s South Side.

“I cannot even have my kids live here because of the unsafe and unhealthy conditions,” said Tanisha Jones, who is heading the tenants’ group.

The Habitat Company, the company that took over management of the building in 2017, released a statement saying it has “worked diligently with the owners to assess the condition of both residences and common areas in an effort to address prior deferred maintenance,” and that it would “continue to make progress on this multi-year initiative as funding becomes available.”

Improvements currently in progress include in-unit repairs, accessibility adaptations, and cosmetic improvements, the management company said.

In December 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) conducted an inspection of Indian Trails Apartments and gave the building a score of 31 out of a possible 100. A score less than 60 is considered a failing grade. HUD records acquired by independent journalist group ProPublica show conditions at the Indian Trails Apartments have declined through the years from a score of 59 in August 2013, to 50 in January 2015, to 35 in April 2015.

On Aug. 9, a fire broke out in a second-story unit, severely burning a 13-year-old boy and sending a baby, a 10-year-old, and their mother to the hospital. The 13-year-old boy has undergone several surgeries since. An investigation by the Chicago Fire Department did not determine whether the building infrastructure or electrical issues were the source of the blaze.

Beasley Allen lawyers handle cases involving issues of premises liability and negligent security. Premises Liability is the responsibility a land or property owner has for accidents, injury or other incidents that occur on his real property. For more information about these types of cases, contact Parker Miller, a lawyer in our Atlanta office.

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