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Renter Wants Help After Ceiling Caves In

By Emily Cassulo
By ecassulo@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - An East Jackson woman is homeless Wednesday, after the ceiling to her apartment caved in.

The collapse damaged several items in her apartment, but she said management told her they cannot pay for it. She came to 7 Eyewitness News looking for answers.

Stella Epperson said she came home from church to find her apartment destroyed after her ceiling collapsed.

"Where I had slept the night before on the couch, had I had been there, had it had fallen in on Monday night, I don't know if I would've been standing here today," she said.

Epperson said she was shocked. She has not had any issues at her apartment until now, and her neighbors have not either.

Management at Parkway East Apartments was outside cleaning up the mess the next morning, but Epperson said they still do not know what caused the collapse.

According to Epperson, management told her they could not pay for the damage done to her personal items because it is not in her lease. She said they should still be liable.

"It was not because it had rained, it was not because it had flooded, not because of a tornado. It was structure damage on their end," Epperson said.

7 Eyewitness News called the apartment complex looking for answers, but they just said "no comment."

After our call, they told Epperson they would put her in a hotel for a few days.

Jackson attorney Mark Donohoe told 7 Eyewitness News it is too early to say who is liable for paying for the damage to Epperson's personal items.

He said management is only responsible for damage to the apartment itself, as long as Epperson was not at fault.

"If after all the facts are in, it appears that the apartment complex somehow was at fault, through some type of faulty construction, through failure to maintain the premises as they should have or through some other type of negligence, then they very well could be liable to pay her for what she's owed for the damages to her personal items," Donahoe said.

"My main concern is my property," Epperson said. "My personal content and the fact that if it has asbestos in it because I did have difficulty breathing after I had exited the apartment."

Epperson told 7 Eyewitness News she does not have renter's insurance, and does not have money to replace what she has lost.

The city said they will send out a housing codes inspector to look at the apartment, Thursday.