Family members blame landlord for parents' death due to carbon monoxide poisoning

Posted at 5:24 PM, Feb 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-07 20:05:47-05

WAYNE, Mich. (WXYZ) — Allegations of gross negligence surround the death of a married couple from Wayne. Their loved ones say carbon monoxide exposure was the result of negligence on the part of the landlords who failed to perform maintenance.

The family that just lost their parents says grief is not the only emotion they’re dealing with. They’re also outraged and angry.

“The loss is devastating,” says daughter Monique Jelks.

Her parents, Anthony and Gwendolyn Fleming, were happily married for 35 years.

The couple was in their 60s ad spent the past several years living at Hickory Hollow Cooperative, near Van Born and Merriman in Wayne. On the evening of Friday, Feb. 1, Ashley Gunn and her kids noticed something was wrong.

“I knocked on the door a few times," Gunn said. "There was no response, so I knocked harder."

She then called 911. Police and fire units arrived quickly and found her mother dead. Her father passed away after being hospitalized.

“There was a high level of carbon monoxide,” she says first responders told her.

Today, 7 Action News visited the company’s leasing office to get answers. However, workers who noticed us instead escaped from sight. Also, our calls were not returned. Attorney Matthew Curtis says it’s no surprise.

“They never bothered to do proper inspections," Curtis said. "Never warned tenants. Never put detectors. It was so preventable."

Curtis calls it a total disregard for safety since another tenant was hospitalized for carbon monoxide exposure just one day before.

Also, a different tenant filed a lawsuit two years ago after being allegedly sickened.

“Negligent. Now five kids don’t have their grandparents,” says Jelks, the couple's daughter, adding that other units also had elevated levels on that Friday night.

The family is also saying they haven’t received an apology or condolence call from the management company. They are planning to now pursue legal action. Police are also investigating. No criminal charges have been filed.