Residents say Westland fire where woman was killed has history of problems

- There are new allegations filed against the landlord of a Westland apartment complex where one person died in a fire over the weekend.

The Willow Creek apartment complex in Westland caught fire Sunday, tearing apart the building. Colleen Waun says her brother barely escaped the flames.

"This tragedy was preventable and that's the saddest part of it all. So here we are today - the aftermath," Waun said.

Her brother, James Mason, lived in the apartments. He's a double amputee who only escaped the fire when a neighbor saved his life.

"If it wasn't for Jane - she saved James' life. So she's our hero and know she's struggling with the fact she couldn't get back in to save her sister-in-law but she tried twice," Waun said.

Sadly Jane couldn't save her sister-in-law, Verleen Johnson. She also lived in the apartment building and was blind and in a wheelchair. She was overcome by the thick black smoke.

"It was within a minute or two it happened very very quickly," Waun said.

She said her brother didn't hear any smoke alarms and there have been problems at the complex for at least the past year. Everything from snow-covered sidewalks to faucets that don't turn off. In her brother's bathroom, there were even more problems where there's a huge hole in the ceiling.

Colleen has talked to Harvest Properties Management and believed something like this could happen.

"The scenario I used: you need to make this wheelchair accessible. In the even there's a fire, James will never get out," she said. " I kept saying management please help me before there's a tragedy. Here's the tragedy."

There's more. Joe Roperti says new outside lighting has been installed in the building and throughout the complex - without a permit.

"I saw him come this morning with no regard to the lady that just died and pulled a machine out of an adjacent driveway and start to do some electrical work. I asked him if he had a permit and he said no," Roperti said.

We tried to contact management and get some answers but the office was locked up.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Residents are now posting signs and asking people to call the mayor and demand justice for Verleen and the people who are homeless because of the fire.

Assistance is available for displaced seniors through the Senior Alliance by calling 734-722-2830. CLICK HERE for Vereen Johnson's GOFUNDME.

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