Pregnant woman falls from balcony at Henrico County apartment

Tenants tell 8News they're saddened, but not surprised to learn what happened

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A woman was transported to an area hospital Thursday morning after falling from a balcony at an apartment complex in Henrico County.

Henrico Fire tells 8News the woman fell from a 2nd-story balcony at the Essex Village apartments at about 9:15 a.m.

Henrico Fire could not verify her condition and no other details of the incident were released.

Residents who 8News spoke with said they are saddened by the news but say they aren’t surprised; they say many units need work.

“Some of them are weak, old, they need to be fixed and repaired,” said one woman who wished to remain anonymous. “They are trying, but I feel like they still aren’t doing their best.”

A spokesperson with PK Management, LLC, the property manager for Essex Village Apartments, released the following statement to 8News:

As part of our ongoing maintenance, the Essex maintenance team made repairs to the balcony late yesterday afternoon, securing it until permanent repairs could be made today.

The resident was instructed not to use the balcony. This morning, it was reported that the resident fell through the railing. The matter is being investigated by the County Police and Fire Departments.

Congressman Donald McEachin also released a statement saying he has sent a letter the Department of Housing and Urban Development requesting action.

“Today, a young mother is in the hospital because her housing did not meet the most basic safety standards. She — and potentially her unborn child — are suffering because someone else failed to do his or her job. This accident is proof that responsible parties urgently need to address the appalling, dangerous conditions at Essex Village.

“After visiting Essex Village earlier this month, I communicated to HUD that the situation there is unacceptable. Today, I sent a letter requesting that HUD staff arrange a call with me and Henrico County officials, who have been working diligently to address the community’s problems. I will be asking HUD what they intend to do moving forward, and why conditions became so dangerous in the first place.

“All people deserve access to safe, affordable housing. We should never have to worry that our floors or railings are going to collapse underneath us — especially because of someone else’s negligence. Conditions at Essex Village must be improved before someone else is hurt, and I will be pushing for as swift and thorough a fix as possible.”

Below is the entire letter McEachin wrote to Secretary Ben Carson:

Dear Secretary Carson:

Earlier this month, I visited Essex Village, a HUD Section 8 housing facility located in my congressional district. That visit revealed extensive problems with the conditions my constituents are forced to endure. In the very near future, you can expect a longer letter from me asking what HUD will do about these systemic problems, including numerous code violations and life safety issues. Today, however, I am inquiring about a specific, immediate concern.

In the last 24 hours, a young, pregnant mother fell from her second-story balcony because decaying boards had caused serious structural issues. I understand that a self-inspection by the operators of the complex, P.K. Management, revealed the problem several months ago; the company supposedly made repairs, but their minor fixes were not enough to make the balcony safe. Today, that young mother – and potentially her unborn second child – are suffering as a result. The woman is now being treated at the hospital for injuries inflicted on her by her home, which should be a place of safety and comfort.

It is totally unacceptable for residents in a HUD-subsidized complex to endure unsafe and unhealthy living conditions. It is HUD’s responsibility to ensure all residents have an acceptable quality of life. This incident calls for immediate answers. Recognizing that this coming weekend is a holiday weekend, I request a phone call for me and Henrico County officials with HUD staff within the week. Please have your staff contact my Chief of Staff, Abbi Easter, at (804) 486 – 1840 or Abbi.Easter1@mail.house.gov to schedule that call.

Sincerely,

A. Donald McEachin
Member of Congress

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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