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Site of gas deaths in 2019 to be demolished for new housing

September 21, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina housing project where two men died in a gas leak in 2019 is about to be demolished.

The Post and Courier reports that the 81-year-old buildings that make up Allen Benedict Court in Columbia have been vacant since January 2019.

That’s when Calvin Witherspoon Jr. and Derrick Roper were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning. Hundreds of code violations were later uncovered on the property.

The Columbia Housing agency says it will include former Allen Benedict residents in planning for the site’s redevelopment as affordable housing. The current buildings are to be demolished after environmental testing that began the week of Sept. 13 is complete.

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Once demolition is complete, planning and building new housing could be another three years, according to the agency’s timeline.

More than 400 residents were relocated when Allen Benedict Court closed in January 2019. The housing agency pleaded guilty in 2020 to numerous code violations and paid an $11,000 fine, according to the Post and Courier.