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State visits apartment building at focus of 2 On Your Side investigation

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BATON ROUGE - The state visited an apartment building under the microscope by the Department of Health and Hospitals.

Last week, 2 On Your Side's Brittany Weiss started asking questions about the filthy conditions some people with mental illness are living in. The Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office began its investigation Tuesday morning.

A Fire Marshal Deputy found a few fire code violations and cited Brent Honore, the owner of Brittany's Place on Burbank Drive, to make sure changes are made.

"We cited him to go and check all of his units that he owns both at Brittany's Place or anywhere else, to ensure that they have working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers," said State Fire Marshal Butch Browning.

Last week, 2 On Your Side toured an apartment at Brittany's Place. Jason Drew showed WBRZ where his brother and dozens of other people with mental illness stay. In the one unit, the only working toilet had been stopped up and sink was plugged. A large hole in the downstairs ceiling exposed ductwork. He called those conditions horrible.

"I wouldn't let my dog stay over here," said Drew.

For four years, Drew's brother paid $866 a month out of his social security check to live in a three-bedroom unit with five others.

"They cook for all the residents, they give out medicine and they're not licensed to give out medicine," he said.

While touring the facility, Drew pointed out the lack of operational smoke alarms. Some smoke alarms were hanging from the ceiling and the batteries had been taken out. In other areas where smoke alarms are supposed to be there were none.

Each unit has an upstairs and downstairs and code requires a smoke alarm in each bedroom and at the top of the stairs.

Last week, Honore told 2 On Your Side he couldn't answer a question regarding the lack of working smoke alarms in units because he doesn't walk through the units every day.

The State Fire Marshal's Office says Honore is cooperating and gave him some time to make changes to bring Brittany's Place up to code. A deputy will be revisiting the location Wednesday morning to check on those improvements.

The Department of Health and Hospitals says Brittany's Place is not a licensed facility and it does not have authority over such place. DHH says it does not have information as to where Honore's tenants come from nor does it have the authority to take formal actions.

Friday, DHH said it was notifying Honore of multiple complaints made against Brittany's Place and it heard back from the property owner Tuesday.

 

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