ST. LOUIS — Tiffany Boyd took a long walk down a hallway of empty apartment units to get to her place Monday. She was the only one remaining in a 24-unit burned-out building on Enright. Though her floor is not as damaged as the second floor where the fire started, you can still smell smoke everywhere.
An arsonist struck the day after Mother’s Day. St. Louis firefighters rescued several residents, while St. Louis police arrested a suspect who now faces criminal charges. Six weeks later, Boyd feels forgotten. She said she’s also afraid.
“It is frightening,” Boyd said. “I’m a single woman in this place.”
“When I come in, I have to make sure I look right and left and by the laundry room,” she added. “Look up the steps to make sure no one is waiting to rush me because I don’t know if they got in the building or not.”
The building is secured but Boyd says somehow stragglers find their way inside. She said she heard banging above her recently and later an abandoned unit was broken into. She said people broke in to steal belongings someone had left behind.
“At nighttime, it’s really scary,” she said. “I just don’t know who might come through the door.”
She places a security bar against the door when she comes in for the day.
FOX 2 first reported about people still living in the burned-out building on May 18. Aaron Walker showed us at the time how he lived right across from the unit where the fire started.
“I’m still living here,” Walker yelled.
Another tenant, Johnnay Brown, added: “The smell, the smoke is on the walls.”
A military veteran who did not want to be identified added, “I work a lot, so I try to keep my mind off of all of this that’s going on.”
Apartment management found new places for those residents almost immediately after our May reports.
Tiffany Boyd remained silent – and patient – on the first floor where the smoke smell is not as potent. Six weeks, though, she said is long enough.
“I’ve been ready to go, “ she said. “I’m ready to get back somewhere comfortable. I’m tired of living around these boxes.”
Management told FOX 2 on Monday that it was a paperwork issue. They said it’s an issue out of their control because of subsidized housing requirements.
A corporate spokesman said he’s frustrated too. Then right after our interview, Boyd got a phone call. A Section 8 housing inspector said they would be checking a new unit, outside of the burned-out building, where she might be able to move. She confirmed with us later that she finally got her new place.