Roy Gilbert

After fatal fire, Syracuse landlord rents unit with ash-stained ceiling, no smoke detectors

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Ash and smoke stains cover the ceiling of Tawanda O’Neal’s apartment, a daily reminder of a fire that killed a 13-year-old girl, and of the brazen indifference of the building’s owner, a notorious city landlord. About three months after that deadly fire tore through the home, the landlord re-rented the apartment at 722 Pond St. to O’Neal. According to O’Neal, the landlord didn’t clean the smoke stains or paint the ceiling. He didn’t replace a bathtub blackened by ash. He didn’t mention there had been a fatal fire. An inspection two weeks ago found the apartment had no smoke detectors. O’Neal said a worker installed two detectors shortly after that inspection. She said it was the first time the apartment had smoke detectors since she moved in in 2016. O’Neal only learned that someone had died in her home after she moved in. She walked out her front door one evening to find a group of people arm-in-arm in her lawn, uttering prayers and holding glass-jarred candles. It was a vigil for the dead teen-aged girl. Now, after three years of fighting with that landlord, O’Neal has finally saved enough money to move her family out of the apartment and “close this chapter of her life.” And even though she’s never met him, she wants to warn Syracuse tenants about renting from her nightmare landlord, John Kiggins. *** According to county records, the home is owned by Endzone Properties, a limited liability company whose president is […]

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