Family of victims in Addison Street house fire critical of home safety, housing authority responds

Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 11:25 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A mother and daughter were taken to the hospital after a fire broke out Thursday morning in the 4000 block of Addison Street in South Bend.

Now, the victims’ family members are speaking out, claiming they have had concerns about this house since day one.

They say the smoke detectors never worked. However, the lawyer representing the South Bend Housing Authority begs to differ and says the smoke detectors were, in fact, working and that the home passed an initial inspection.

The mother in the fire has been identified as Nadeana Halamar.

Family members say Halamar was eventually transported to the University of Michigan’s Trauma Burn Center.

At last check, she remains in critical condition.

“She’s critical,” said Lashan Pappalardo and Kara Leavenworth, Halamar’s sister and mother. “She’s fighting for her life, basically. She’s burned severely. Third degree. Her fight is going to be a little more challenging than somebody else in this situation because she is already a quadriplegic.”

Meantime, Halamar’s daughter is recovering.

“Burned as well,” the family told 16 News Now. “Helped pull her mom out of the burning house.”

“The smoke alarms hadn’t worked since she moved in, and nobody would call us back,” the family claimed. “And, my niece told me, ‘Aunt Lashan, I didn’t hear the smoke detectors. They didn’t go off. They didn’t go off. So, how avoidable was this situation?’” said Pappalardo.

While the property is not owned by the housing authority, Nadeana is a part of the housing authority’s voucher program. Voucher holders identify a property they like and then contact the housing authority for approval.

Jewell Harris, the attorney for the housing authority, says they were in the process of approving the property and passed an inspection on Nov.14, 2022, as part of the application process.

Harris claims Nadeana refused to sign a lease agreement with the property owner, which is why the family’s request for a second inspection was never approved.

“The housing authority has not been easy for her to work with at all,” Halamar’s family told 16 News Now. “It’s always a threat to her that they will take her vouchers from her. Why, if somebody has a question about their safety, is it so difficult to have them do another inspection?”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The home is a total loss, and now Halamar faces extensive medical bills as she fights for her life in critical condition. A GoFundMe has been sent up to help cover medical expenses, and help her start over.

To donate to her GoFundMe click here.