Building Trades Towers residents still can't retrieve property months after fire
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama —
Frustrations are running high among former residents of Trades Towers in Birmingham. It caught fire last October. Now four months later, they still can't get their belongings out of the building. "No return calls, nobody's telling us anything," said Leiren Norwood. She is beyond frustrated.
"Just help us. I don't care about getting money; I just want our stuff," said Norwood.
She had moved from South Alabama to help her mother who has cancer. Like the other residents, they escaped the fire with only the clothes on their backs leaving behind many things they can't replace. That includes pictures of her late father.
An armed security guard sits outside the Trades Towers building. The city says the fire disturbed asbestos and until it's cleaned up, residents can't go back in.
Nobody would talk with us at the local management firm, Arbour Valley Management, and the owner's attorney refused to comment citing pending litigation.
"They've shown no compassion or consideration," said attorney Frank Buck who represents more than sixty of the tenants. He says he's made numerous requests to allow residents to retrieve property and all they get is the runaround.
"Emmauel Ku out of New York who has numerous properties all over U.S., I think he could care less what's going on here in Birmingham, Alabama," said Buck. Ku owns the property. Online news reports in New York call him a "slumlord."
Buck says he has no choice but to try and get a court order to force Ku to turn over the resident's property. He says some residents had valuable belongings in their apartments such a jewelry. Some of his clients also have physical injuries from the fire.