Mother and daughter die following gas leak in Mississippi low-income apartment


Yesterday (Oct. 17), Ashton Pittman, a reporter for the Mississippi Free Press, shared a detailed thread on Twitter regarding an apparent gas leak in a Cleveland apartment building. The community is calling for answers after two residents died following the incident.

According to the nonprofit news outlet, 31-year-old Deshundra Tate and her 5-year-old daughter, Kendra, were tenants in the low-income housing building Sunset Village. On Aug. 30, the mother and her young child died after a gas leak happened in the complex. Following their untimely deaths, remaining residents were asked to live in hotels while management investigated the situation.

Once tenants returned to the property, they were reportedly met with “unsafe, unlivable” conditions. Deloris Weatherspoon told the Mississippi Free Press that her unit “had mold as thick as a stack of hundred-dollar bills” so bad “you could smell it through the front door.” Others said that while away for the so-called gas leak repairs, their apartments were left unlocked and items were stolen.

“But [apartment management] is not replacing my TVs and [my son’s] laptops,” Vonetta McCoy told reporters. She added that she had no choice but to leave her unit after a notice was posted to her door on Sept. 14 following the gas leak. McCoy said the document told her she had 10 days to leave or “legal action shall be taken against [her] to force an eviction.” Some residents slammed the management company, saying they still had to pay rent while also paying for hotel accommodations.


In Pittman’s tweets, he shared photos of the deplorable living conditions. Nick Judin, another reporter for the nonprofit Mississippi news outlet, wrote, “One unit appeared to lack any electricity whatsoever: The stink of spoiled food from a disconnected freezer was overwhelming and water flowed openly from somewhere in the bathroom wall. Many units still lacked running water.”

As for the deaths of Deshundra and Kendra, Pittman noted an “autopsy will confirm whether gas poisoning was the direct cause of death.” Attorneys at the University of Mississippi’s Low-Income Housing Clinic say Sunset Village’s management staff “knew of the gas leak and failed to repair it prior to the death of both Tate and her daughter.”