LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A Metro Councilwoman criticized the timing of a report showing a multiple Louisville agencies failed to communicate with each other leading to the deadly South 28th Street building collapse.
John Dozier died July 22, 2016 during the collapse of a meat store in the Parkland neighborhood.
District 1 Councilwoman Jessica Green has pushed for an investigation. Several city agencies had contact with the business owner prior to the collapse including the Fire Department and Codes and Regulations.
There were multiple citations and warnings that the building, which was undergoing renovations, was the site of safety issues.
The City's Office of Internal Audit looked at more than a year's worth of warnings and citations connected to the property. Investigators found that 4 agencies had been contacted about concerns at the property but there was little to no inter-agency communication and any follow-up was delayed or non-existent.
“I have often said, in relation to this property, it was like the right hand didn't know what the left was doing. No communication,” Councilwoman Jessica Green said.
The 19-page report describes the regulatory and code enforcement activity at 1066 South 28th Street leading up to the July collapse that killed Dozier.
The auditors found corrective action for each agency; Develop Louisville, the Fire Department's Bureau of Fire Prevention, Codes and Regulations and Public Health and Wellness.
In some instances there are claims of lack of documentation, failure to connect with the property owner or no real sharing of information between agencies. Each agency agreed to implement recommendations.
“I can't use another word besides being “shocked” by the lack of oversight, the lack of follow through, the lack of following procedures and protocol,” Councilwoman Green said.
Also frustrating Green is the final page of the report, a collaborative response by the agencies explaining that their orders were disregarded by the property owner and, with no arrest power, they face difficulty when faced with absent, indifferent, or arrogant business owners who sacrifice safety in pursuit of profit.
“There may be bad owners out there,” Green conceded. ”But the purpose of us having city agencies is for there to be a check and balances and we assume that property owners are going to be notified. We assume that proper procedure and protocol is going to be followed but, as you can see from that report, it did not happen in this case.”
We asked, did the city fail Joh Dozier?
“I think that there were failures to the entire community, there were failures to John Dozier, there were failures to property owners by the fact that there was no communication, there were failures to the business owner because proper protocol was not followed, there was failure to the entire community in this situation and that's unfortunate,” Green replied.
The District 1 Councilwoman has also called into question whether the outcome would have been the same had the building not been located in Louisville’s west end.
“I'm not a person, anybody who knows me, who plays the race card, who plays the west end card,” Green said. “But what I will tell you is that the sanctity of life is a lot higher, I believe, in other parts of the city. In downtown, in the east end, I do not believe this type of situation would happen. I believe buildings are kept up to code, I believe there is follow through, I believe there is communications and so there's this feeling amongst my constituents, amongst all people in west Louisville, that our lives generally don't matter.”