Apartment Tenants Fired Up Over "Transitional" Residents - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Apartment Tenants Fired Up Over "Transitional" Residents

Woman set fire to apartment in suicide attempt



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    Four apartments were completely destroyed by the fire.

    After the flames were put out inside Building B at the Henry on the Park apartment complex late Tuesday night, firefighters began looking for a cause. It didn't take long for investigators to discover that the blaze, which sent three residents and a firefighter to the hospital, was intentionally set.

      It seems the woman who lived in the affected unit wanted to end her life. She is one of a handful of people placed in the complex as part of a program called Project Transition.
    The organization began placing people in units at the Roxborough apartment complex about six weeks ago and residents say they've been nothing but trouble. Now tenants are   demanding management make a change.
    "This is a tragedy that should not have happened," said resident Maria Esbensen Thursday.
    Residents claim several incidents occurred since Project Transition tenants began moving in, including two additional suicide attempts -- one of which was committed just last week by the same woman who started the fire, police said.
    "I have empathy for people who are down and out, who are trying to get a leg up on life…but I'm not sure that this is the right place," said Dean Rishel. "If it were, I think they would need a lot more supervision."
    Some tenants have posted an open letter to management demanding the "programs go" from the complex. In the letter, residents claim they were not notified about the programs saying allowing them in the complex is a breach of lease agreements. It even goes as far as to call the transitional residents "special people."
    "These individuals were monitored during the day, but were left alone in the evening and it’s a little disconcerting now," resident Bob Salamone said.
    Project Transition confirmed they do have clients and an office at Henry on the Park, but would not comment on the fire. They issued this statement late Thursday:

    Project Transition is working closely with the complex's landlord and cooperating with the local authorities to determine the facts of exactly what happened that evening. Project Transition administration and members enjoy good working relationships with the apartment management team as well as with many fellow tenants.

    Tenants plan on testing that relationship at a meeting Thursday night with officials from the complex. They have also invited the Department of Licenses and Inspections.
    As for the woman who set the fire, she is recovering at Albert Einstein Medical Center in the hospital's psychiatric ward.