Nearly a year after deadly plane crash into Baker neighborhood residents frustrated with unrepaired property

BAKER, LA (WAFB) - Seven months after a deadly plane took the life of pilot John Fowler of Mississippi, residents on Rue Jennifer in Baker are still waiting to see what happens with one of the homes demolished by the crash.

"It's coming up on a year and it doesn't make sense for a property to sit blighted for a year in such a great neighborhood and we the residents suffer, the person that owns the house doesn't live here anymore so they could really care less," said Denise Williams.

The owner of the property according to the city of Baker is Michael Smith, a pastor at two churches in the area. WAFB tried to track Smith down at one of the churches but were unable to find him.

Baker Mayor Harold Rideau says he sympathizes with neighbors and says Smith was sent a letter asking him to be present for a condemnation report at the city council meeting.

"Hey look you've had basically seven months what are you going to do? Tell us what you're going to do that's all we ask, you come in and tell council what are you going to do," said Rideau.

According to Rideau, Smith claims the house was still under control of the Baton Rouge Airport which is why he hasn't made repairs but Rideau says he has emails with the National Transportation Safety Board that say otherwise and adds it's now up to council members to decide what to do next.

"The council has to answer to the neighbors over there an elected councilman over there is going to have to come up with some answers if he's not moving on trying to get this resolved," said Rideau.

A resolution is all Williams and other residents on Rue Jennifer are hoping to get as well.

"I want to be proud about where I live and I am proud about living in Baker and I really have confidence in the city of Baker but how much can the city take or how much can they expect the residents on Rue Jennifer to take before you actually do something with the owner of the that property?" said Williams.

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