Displaced from McDougald Terrace, hundreds vent during community forum about carbon monoxide

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Tempers rose inside the Burton Elementary School auditorium as hundreds of displaced McDougald Terrace residents gathered for updates of the conditions that forced them out of their homes.

Their patience is worn thin as they await the end of carbon monoxide inspections and remediation.

Ashley Cannady, organizer of a group called "DHA vs Everybody" spoke for many of her neighbors when she said: "This is unacceptable. We have to come together as a community, We have to start holding elected officials, government officials, everybody should be held accountable! This didn't just happen yesterday. This was here before Mr. Scott got here!"

She pointed to Durham Housing Authority head Anthony Scott when she said that after he opened the community information session with offers of support.

"We want to make sure we get feedback from you. We know the process has been difficult," said Scott.

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But poor ventilation and difficulty hearing citizens who weren't near a microphone frustrated many people there. One woman required assistance and fresh air, which put the meeting on hold for several minutes.

Carbon monoxide is only one of many problems plaguing residents in that community lately.

Brittany Bass, a concerned mother who's lived at McDougald Terrace for four years, broke down while describing the smell of raw sewage there. She's very worried about the effects of carbon monoxide on her children, too.

"I asked God to help me," Bass said, choking back sobs. "We can't keep doing this to our people! It is ridiculous!"

Durham's mayor and city council representatives at the forum agree. They and the DHA leader urge frustrated people at the meeting to meet with social service, legal aid and mental health representatives who waited for a short stroll away, in the school's cafeteria.

Venus Murray, another person who can't return yet to her McDougald Terrace home said, "When it's all said and done. don't sweep us back under the rug!"

"I'm proud of all y'all from McDougald." Ashley Cannady cheered. "McDougald, stand up! We are McDougald strong! We are McDougald united!"

They eagerly await the day when they can all return to their safer homes where no carbon monoxide fumes pose a health threat.
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