Families speak out about Ralston Towers living conditions

Families speak out about Ralston Towers living conditions
Published: Jul. 7, 2017 at 11:56 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2017 at 2:42 PM EDT
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(Source: WTVM)
(Source: WTVM)
(Source: WTVM)
(Source: WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Family members are speaking out about the conditions of their loved ones living at the Ralston Towers after a resident died Thursday from a health-related issue aggravated by the excessive heat in the building.

News Leader 9 spoke with Lindsey Rodriguez who said her mother lived at Ralston towers for nearly three years.

Rodriguez said her mother had several issues while living in the Ralston and the biggest issue was the air conditioning and bed bug problems.

She said her mother already suffered from health issues, and at one point the management of the Ralston evicted her mother after they discovered a bed bug infestation in the building.

Rodriguez said the management offered no sort of compensation or help during the problem.

"Nobody deserves to be in conditions like that at all," says Rodriguez.

Rodriguez's mother passed away at age 52 due to a blood infection.

Family of 62-year-old, Charles Hart, who the Muscogee County Coroner's office confirmed passed away due to heat in his 98 degree apartment on July 6th, said they, too, are running into issues with management of the Ralston.

"I walked in the building and the manager said, ' You are not allowed here.' She said, 'Security, escort her out of the building," said Regina Draut, Hart's sister-in-law.

Draut said the family planned on gathering Hart's personal belongings from his apartment, just one day after his death. Draut said because of the Ralston's management, the family's plans completely changed.

"Its really sad that he's treating his family this way," said Draut. "It just doesn't make sense."

Draut called Columbus Police to the scene, but she said officers told the family they were still not allowed inside his room or into the Ralston building.

"It was always like band aids they were putting on the situation just to get all eyes off of them," said Rodriguez.

Although their family doesn't specifically blame the Ralston for her death, they believe the severe conditions she was living in was a contributing factor before she passed.

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