Apartment fire leaves student homeless


Justin Hall, Correspondent

One GS student found herself in limbo after a fire at The George took away her home in late August.

On August 30th, an apartment caught fire at the George apartment complex on Woodland Drive, and it spread to the apartment adjacent, leaving Esther Asare-Nkansah, a junior in computer science, and her cat without a place to stay.

“I was in the middle of work as I work from home and I noticed that my cat who was in the living room kept bothering me a little bit more than usual, so I decided to check out what’s going on, and I realized that my entire apartment is filled with smoke,” said Asare-Nkansah. 

She was able to grab a few personal belongings including her cat before the fire department showed up and put the fire out. As a result, she ended up staying in a hotel that Monday night.

She notified her apartment manager that she was staying in a hotel because of the flooding and smoke fumes in her apartment, but even with her renter’s insurance, she couldn’t get reimbursed for her hotel stay. A manager did offer her a place on the property instead, before telling her the place was already at full capacity.

“It’s very draining after paying all of my September rent and then having to pay hotel fees,and having to order food because I can’t cook in a hotel and all my groceries in the fridge went bad,” said Asare-Nkansah. “I’ve been really frustrated at the moment dealing with classes and I work full time and I technically did not have anywhere to live besides a hotel which I was paying really high amounts for everyday because I have a pet.”

After her dire circumstances, Asare-Nkansah took the appropriate action and contacted city leaders for support. 

“I contacted the mayor with the suggestion of someone else, and he was able to get in contact with the American Red Cross United Way,” said Asare-Nkansah. “I also got in touch with the Action PACs legal aid team and the University’s Dean of Students who reached out to me and said that they will be offering hotel stay for the next 48 hours because they see the damage is worse than they thought.” 

Asare-Nkansah inquired about them covering her for the Monday through Wednesday period and she was told someone would be in contact with her, but she never heard back.

However, she finally got a silver lining at the end of her dark cloud thanks to the Dean of Students.

“He called me that Friday afternoon and he offered me a place for me to stay on campus at Freedom’s Landing,” she said. “The only problem is we don’t know when my permit is going to be fixed so I have to pay a whole semester upfront.” 

She’s been staying at Freedom’s Landing for over a week now waiting for news about her old place.

Her latest update on her apartment was that it needed a bit more work than expected. Almost everything needed to be gutted, and the apartment needed to dry out.

“There’s also an infestation of flies because of the water that they let sit for days,” said  All my clothes smell like smoke. My refrigerator was unplugged and all my meal preps were completely gone.”

Asare-Nkansah did get some good news this past Tuesday that her manager will pay for part of her hotel stay and now she’s in limbo waiting until she can find somewhere else to stay. 

“I’m very thankful that I have a job that I can pay for these things, but this is a lot to put on a college student,” she said. “It’s a lot mentally and financially.”