ADDIS, LA (WAFB) - A former maintenance employee at the D'Iberville Townhomes in Addis, who will be referred to as "Jack" to protect his identity, said he's not surprised at all that a child died at the property. He said he warned management and sounded the alarm several times, but it fell on deaf ears.
Jack: I was scared to death for those little children.
Kiran: What were you scared of?
Jack: What happened, that some kid was going to stick their hand in there and die, and one did.
On Monday, June 22, Kristiana Tillman, 1, died. The official autopsy results showed she died from electrocution. Investigators believe she touched live, high voltage wires that were left uncovered on a nearby air conditioning unit.
Jack said he tried his best to work with what he had while he was there.
"I tried everything I could to cover up all those air conditioners, anything I could find, anything. I mean even taking those political signs and wrapping them around and putting a screw in it," said Jack.
The reason he had to use political signs to cover the units? He said the complex owners and managers would not give him enough money to buy parts.
Kiran: So how did you go get some of these things?
Jack: I bought some of the stuff. I actually went to the hardware store and bought out of my own pocket.
Kiran: Did you ever get reimbursed?
Jack: Well, no.
Kiran: Why did you pay out of your pocket?
Jack: Because I didn't want people to get hurt.
We reached out to the managers we saw on property when we went out there, but they had no comment. We asked the property management, Latter & Blum, for an interview. They denied that, but sent a statement:
"Latter & Blum Property Management continues to look into this matter. We have no further comments as this is a subject of litigation."
Jack said there were AC unit covers lying all over the place and several were uncovered, not just the one where the little girl died. He said he told management there were hanging wires and something needed to be done.
Jack: All they gave a damn about was money, money coming in.
Kiran: What about the tenants and their safety?
Jack: How could they not have given me what I needed if they cared about anybody's safety.
Because of those reasons, Jack said he no longer works at the complex and for Latter & Blum, and added he never plans to again.
Jack: I would not work for Latter & Blum because of the experience, especially the experience in Addis. I wouldn't work for Latter & Blum again if they offer me a 10-figure salary.
Kiran: If you could say anything to Latter & Blum, what would it be?
Jack: You should be ashamed of yourself.
But he does not only point the finger at them. He constantly asks if he personally did enough while he was there.
"Maybe I should have stayed. Maybe I should have fought instead of just running away," said Jack.
State Fire Marshal investigators went out to inspect the property after our first report. They found nearly 140 different violations. Investigators said management has fixed a majority of the violations and have until July 26 to fix the improper smoke barriers in the attics.