Nurse describes harsh conditions inside group home before fire
BATON ROUGE - A nurse described disturbing living conditions of people who were burned out of their group home earlier this week.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said people were barely being treated as human beings in apartment units in the 600 block of Donmoor. The apartment was rented out from its owner by an independent living agency. The agency's owner is identified as Cynthia Jackson on state business filings.
"People's lives are in her hands, and obviously one has definitely slipped through the cracks," the woman, a nurse, said in an interview with WBRZ reporter Brett Buffington Wednesday night. On TV, the woman's face was hidden and her voice disguised since she worked as a home health nurse at the apartment complex.
Lenard Grimes, a resident, died in a fire at the apartment complex Tuesday morning. Another person was severely injured.
A previous WBRZ Investigative Unit report about the blaze uncovered fire officials also had concerns with the property. Inspectors found fire code violations and even questioned the conditions of the people who resided at the facility.
"Codes for independent assisted living must be further researched," an inspector wrote in a violation report.
The whistle blower interviewed on TV said there was a careless mentality about patient care.
"I brought up my concerns several times... it was just discounted," she said.
The woman claims people were living in cramped, one bedroom apartments and said sometimes, air conditioning was not working. The woman stopped seeing patients at the property before the fire but said she wanted to talk about what she felt were harsh conditions in the hopes of prompting some sort of high-level investigation.
The fire department has not released a cause of the fire.
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