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Reported Gas Leak Prompts Temporary Evacuation at Sunset Village Over A Year After Deaths

Residents fled their homes once again following a potential gas leak Sunday night in the same building where a gas leak killed residents Deshundra and Kendra Tate at the Sunset Village apartment complex in Cleveland, Miss., in August 2022.

Sunset Village resident Vonetta McCoy told the Mississippi Free Press on Monday morning that she awoke Sunday night to the sound of Bolivar County firefighters knocking at her door. “They said everyone had to get out because it’s a gas leak,” she said. The fire department evacuated everyone from Buildings 8 and 9.

With nowhere else to go, McCoy and her son spent a chilly night in her car, waiting for a sign that it might be safe to return or to be sent off to a motel; after the Tates’ deaths in 2022, complex management temporarily housed residents in local motels.

Vonetta McCoy, a resident of Sunset Village Apartments in Cleveland, Miss., pictured here during her first displacement in 2022, told the Mississippi Free Press that the fire department pulled her from her home late at night on Sunday, April 21, 2024, warning of a potential gas leak. Photo by Nick Judin

After several hours of waiting, responders returned residents to their buildings. McCoy said the room smelled of gas and that officials encouraged her to leave all the windows open; the stench remained through the night. As of Monday afternoon, she was without gas utilities and she said property management had declined to provide any information about her safety.

When this reporter last spoke to her on Monday afternoon, she was preparing for a 12-hour shift as a resident aide at a local assisted living facility, her voice still weary from a cold, sleepless night. “I don’t even know how I’m feeling right now,” McCoy admitted. After years of stress over the conditions at Sunset Village, she expressed doubts that management would resolve the problem. “This ain’t gonna be the last time,” she said.

The national property management company that owns Sunset Village, Millennia Housing Management, told the Mississippi Free Press through a spokesperson on Monday that they are

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