Carbon monoxide is believed to be responsible for the tragic deaths of four people at the Evergreen Apartments at Riverfront Heights. On March 25th, Nancy Uniacke, Carl Dunfee, Veronica Mousely, and Andrew Spanakos lost their lives. Several other people living in the building were also hospitalized the same night.
Several of the buildings in the complex were immediately evacuated, but residents were allowed to return shortly afterwards. However, two of the buildings, Building G, the site of the deaths, and Building F were evacuated a second time on March 27th with no explanation to the residents.
Alex Rittberg, the program administrator at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Environmental, and county officials inspected the site. The inspection revealed that Building G’s boiler room ventilation system was rusted and dilapidated.
Without proper ventilation, rather than escaping out the chimney, exhaust fumes filled the boiler room directly beneath the residents’ apartments. He said that the state will oversee the replacement of two of the boilers and other necessary repairs. New Castle County Police Cpl. Tom Jackson is also conducting an investigation.
Evergreen Apartments purchased Riverfront Heights last summer and owns several other apartment buildings in Wilmington and the surrounding area, including Brandywine Hills Apartments, Driftwood Club Apartments, Newport Terrace Apartments and Midway Park Apartments. Other properties include Evergreen Terrace Townhomes and Apartments in Elkton, Maryland, Evergreen Apartments at Christiana Reserve in Newark; and Hampton Walk Apartments in New Castle. Company spokespersons were unavailable for comment.
said that if it is proven that the ventilation system caused the deaths, it would be the basis for negligence lawsuits filed by anyone who was injured. For those who lost family members, wrongful death suits could be filed. He stated that there is an “obligation to make sure the systems providing those families with basic services are maintained. He added that “In wrongful death law, responsibility is the key word.”