Tenants demand better security after man tries to set Newark complex on fire

Tenant Ed Pittman says there is a lack of security, especially at a back door to the building.

News 12 Staff

Nov 18, 2022, 9:18 PM

Updated 610 days ago

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Tenants at a Newark apartment complex are demanding better security after a man poured gasoline in the building's hallways and tried to light it on fire.
Tenant Ed Pittman says there is a lack of security, especially at a back door to the building. He says the back door hasn't locked in months and that's how a man was able to get inside and try to burn down the building.
Video shows a masked man walking by apartment doors pouring gasoline on the floor. He did start a fire, but the flames went out on their own.
"We've seen him and other residents, have seen him sleeping in the hallway," says Pittman. "We've confronted him a couple of times. We have a lot of homeless people that come in the building because they can come right in."
Pittman says there are also kids who vandalize the building. Tenants say teenagers who don't live at the complex broke the back door, which did require a keycard.
"They're smoking in the hallways, being loud, knocking on doors, playing ding dong ditch," says Chuck, who lives on the first floor.
An inspector with the Newark Housing Authority checked on security Friday afternoon. Since it is not a Housing Authority building, officials say the Michaels Organization is in charge.
HUD rules state that a broken door needs to be fixed within 24 hours.
News 12 reached out to the corporate offices of the Michaels Organization, but officials said they can't speak about the attempted arson. The organization did say that the back door has repeatedly needed repairs.
A spokesperson for the Michaels Organization, which owns and operates 58 affordable complexes in New Jersey, says there is a contract in place to have the door replaced.


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