Nonprofit Meets Mental Health Needs of Residents Displaced by Explosion

Residents not yet allowed to move back into apartment buildings

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Tenants displaced by an apartment explosion in Dallas last week are staying at a new address, while still awaiting word on a cause and when they could return.

The City of Dallas Friday said the nearly 250 residents who were forced to leave the Highland Hills Apartments after the explosion on Sept. 29 are now all staying at one hotel, after being spread across three in the immediate days after the incident.

Tramonica Brown said she’s been in crisis response mode for nearly 10 days. The executive director of Dallas-based nonprofit Not My Son said her focus now has shifted beyond physical necessities to needs that are harder to see.

“We have connected them with some resources as far as counseling and mental health because this is a traumatic experience and people need to express that in a safe way,” Brown said.

The City of Dallas said Philadelphia-based Odin Properties continues to make needed repairs at 5700 Highland Hills Drive to safely restore utilities but that it is unclear when tenants who live in a building that wasn’t damaged or destroyed can expect to move back.

Another key question is what caused the blast that injured seven, including four Dallas Fire-Rescue firefighters. So far, investigators have not confirmed the cause of the explosion.

Three of those firefighters remain in serious condition in the hospital but are recovering after being upgraded from critical condition earlier this week.

Dylan Bess is an attorney with Morgan and Morgan. He said multiple Highland Hills tenants have reached out with concerns about maintenance on the property even before the explosion.

No civil suit has been filed yet on behalf of an undetermined number of tenants but Bess added that could change after an explosion cause is known.

“I don’t even think there’s a question of whether there was negligence,” Bess said. The question is who?”

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