Mayor Benjamin: “This property should be closed”

Columbia Mator Steve Benjamin and other City officials gave an update following two deaths at Allen Benedict Court Apartments

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said the third oldest public housing property in the nation is temporarily closed due to the presence of carbon monoxide.

Two men were found dead inside two apartments at Allen Benedict Court Thursday.

According to Richland County Coroner Gary Watts no foul play is suspected in the men’s death.

The victims have been identified as Calvin Witherspoon, Jr., 61, and Derrick Caldwell Roper, 27.

The bodies of Whiterspoon and Roper were discovered as a result of a welfare check.

During the press conference Columbia Police Chief Aubrey Jenkins said the units are not in livable condition due to the presence of CO and multiple units experiencing gas leaks.

Those in attendance during Friday afternoon’s press conference were Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, Gilbert Walker, executive director of the Columbia Housing Authority, Councilman Edward McDowell, Jr., Councilwoman Tameika Issac Devine, City Manager Teresa Wilson and Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook.

Walker said the housing authority received multiple calls from residents complaining about the smell of gas. He said documents relating to how the cases were held would be made available to the press.

Mayor Benjamin said all residents are being told to evacuate and that assistance will be provided for them to relocate to a hotel or a permanent living residence.

Chief Jenkins said the safety of the residents is of utmost concern, but there is no danger to surrounding communities.

Categories: Local News, News, State