Fire at City Towers: Random Tragedy or Par for the Course? Part 4: Raising Complaints with One Voice

In the aftermath of the February fire, a petition was written up based on contributions from several residents throughout door-to-door conversations. In the space of a month, over 90 signatures have been gathered from residents in the building. Residents delivered this petition to the management office at City Towers on April 1st. A small group of people rallied in front of the management office. They were flanked by 6 security guards from Personal Protective Services, a private security company that contracts with VPM (the PPS website proclaims, “We have a strong commitment to community involvement”). These same security guards later escorted Don McShane and his secretary to their cars. A resident tried to hand him a copy of the residents petition as they walked past the rally, but he refused, citing that he couldn’t accept the petition “after hours.”

Private building security guards escort City Towers property manager Don McShane and office secretary to their cars.

The management office has been closed to the public since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many have been banned from entering or even issued restraining orders simply for entering to voice complaints about their units. Residents posted copies of the petition and signatures to the wall of the management office, where they remained through the weekend and then were torn down.

Signed petition sheets posted on office windows.

The demands of the petition were:

1. Maintenance should respond in a timely way to serious health and safety problems inside the units: including mold, mildew, rats, mice, and roaches. When people call with urgent concerns, someone needs to show up to fix them right. This includes the time we spent breathing in smoke and fumes after the most recent fire on the 6th floor of building C.

2. Security and safety in common areas like the halls, stairwells, and elevators is a real issue. We need measures to be put in place to keep ourselves and our family members safe, like better lighting and diligent monitoring of the stairwells for loitering and drug use.

3. Elderly and disabled people should not be located against their wishes on upper floors without an escape plan. This led to serious injuries in the fire in building C and continues to pose a high risk to people’s lives in ALL THREE buildings.

[To be continued]

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