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Family seeks answers after deadly North Little Rock apartment fire

A family in North Little Rock is now mourning the loss of a loved one and is seeking answers after a deadly fire at the Shorter College Garden Apartments.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A family has been in mourning, after the loss of their loved one who was killed in a fire at the Shorter College Garden Apartments in North Little Rock.

They expressed that they want answers from owners and city leaders on why this tragedy happened.

"I love my granny. Nobody can ever take her place. Our bond was unbreakable [and] she was everything," Shamyracle Cummins remembered.

For her and her other family member, Ashley Watts, the last few days have not been easy.

"I was more so like in shock, like, never my grandmother passed away. I can't believe it," Cummins said.

Their grandmother, Wanda Watts, is one of the three victims who passed away in Tuesday's apartment fire in North Little Rock.

"When I found out the way she passed away, it was really like I'm distraught because she didn't pass away from natural causes," Cummins explained.

The family and neighbors mentioned that Watts had previously complained for weeks about a possible gas leak in the building.

Witnesses at the apartments during the fire have alleged they heard an explosion and then saw flames.

"They didn't look into the problems of her complaining about the gas leak of what was going on," Cummins said.

A manager of the complex who was on site explained that there were no prior issues— And fire investigators have yet to confirm the exact cause of the fire.

The family mentioned that there were no carbon monoxide detectors inside Watts' apartment.

"At this point, I feel like no one cared and my grandma lost her life," Watts said.

The family has been devastated by this loss and they have been working to bring attention to issues they say have been ongoing for the past several years.

The two added that they hope no other family has to experience a situation like theirs.

"Nobody did their job, they didn't hear her out, they brushed it under the rug and now that she's passed away, I can't get my grandmother back," Cummins said.

They explained that their main focus is their grandmother.

Wanda Watts helped a lot of people, according to the two, and they want to continue her legacy by starting a nonprofit organization in her honor.

When we reached out to Millennia Housing Management, the owners of the apartment complex for comment we received the following statement:

"The investigation is ongoing. While the investigation continues, the property management and leadership teams are working together with officials to respond to this tragedy. It has been a difficult week in the community, and all are deeply grateful for the community leaders, elected officials, non-profits, and faith-based organizations who have been assisting residents in numerous ways."


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