Watch CBS News

'It shouldn't have taken this': Rogers Park residents upset after 3 women died of the sweltering heat inside their apartment

Residents at Rogers Park apartment where 3 women died of the sweltering heat inside the building
Residents at Rogers Park apartment where 3 women died of the sweltering heat inside the building 02:49

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Chicago alderwoman is pushing to protect Chicagoans from extreme heat inside their own homes.

She's calling for changes after three women died inside a sweltering senior apartment building this weekend. CBS 2's Shardaa Gray reports from the James Sneider Apartments in Rogers Park.

Residents said the air conditioning was turned on Sunday morning. The women CBS 2 spoke to said they simply want to be treated as human beings. 

"It shouldn't have taken this. And now they're sorry and all that. Of course, of course, they're sorry," said Pat Clemmons.

Frustrations still boil with residents at James Sneider Apartments after three women inside the building died Saturday.

"It took all that carrying on Saturday to bring about the air being placed on for seniors," Clemmons said.

CBS 2 reached out to Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, a non-for-profit organization that receives federal funding from Housing and Urban Development to manage mixed-income senior housing buildings. The president and CEO gave CBS 2 a statement:

"The safety and security of our residents has always been our highest priority at HHDC. We are working with the city of Chicago and conducting our own investigation into the incident."

But the organization still didn't answer why the AC wasn't turned on until Sunday. CBS 2 went into their headquarters to get answers. Still no answers.

Eighty-one-year-old Pat Clemmons let CBS 2 into her steaming apartment Saturday. What has changed since then?

"Of course, everybody jumps to attention because now they're on the world scene and everybody is looking at them and seeing what they're not doing," Clemmons said.

They're doing more wellness checks. Knocking on the door everyday to make sure everybody is alright, something they should have been doing all along," said resident Diane Williams.

Diane Williams says her neighbors died for no reason.

"I had just spoken to her that day before about going on a boat trip with the building. I come into the building and the next thing they tell me she's dead," Williams said.

Alderman Maria Haddon introduced a resolution, calling on the city to make legislative changes that will strengthen protections for tenants from extreme heat and cold conditions. 

Haddon said Saturday a vigil will be held at the apartment site, at 6:30 p.m. for the three women who died in this apartment building. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.