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Billings apartment residents speak out over unsafe treatment



Billings, Montana – As a bed bug infestation at the Fraser Tower apartment complex near downtown Billings went on for weeks without much assistance from the property managers, residents are speaking out.

Residents of Fraser Tower claim that bed bugs are only one of many issues that those living in the complex, which houses elderly and disabled people, have to deal with.

One of the individuals whose room is currently infested with bed bugs is Kathy Smith, a patient care assistant (PCA). Although her client requested anonymity, Smith has personally observed the issues in her household.

“It breaks my heart,” Smith said Sunday afternoon. “I love my client. She’s like family to me, and I can’t help her. I feel helpless.”

According to Smith, it has been over three weeks since she last had access to her client’s house. She would typically help her out with things like laundry, dishes, or just keeping her house tidy on her daily visits.

“She has MS. She’s 63 years old and in a wheelchair,” Smith said. “She can’t take care of herself. But I refuse. I can’t put my own home in danger. I just can’t.”

The Tamarack Property Management Group, which owns Fraser Tower, has been receiving complaints from Smith’s client and numerous other residents for weeks. The corporation only recently started communicating with them, but the residents claimed that little has changed.

“They made my client suffer for two weeks and she’s a disabled woman,” Smith said. “That bothers me so bad.”

Residents claim that Fraser Tower has previously experienced bed insect issues. There, Janice Hardy has resided for almost ten years. A few years back, bed bugs started to infest her house.

“I had to get rid of all of my furniture and bag up everything,” Hardy said. “I went and stayed with a friend for several weeks before the problem was fixed.”

Even though Hardy no longer has bed bugs, she claimed that management’s attitude to this situation is consistent with how they responded when it was her home.

“They are trying to get by with doing as little as possible,” Hardy said.

Although Stephanie Nava, a different tenant with cerebral palsy, doesn’t have bed bugs, she has some security worries about her flat.

“There’s issues upon issues in this building and they’re not addressing them. And it’s not fair,” Nava said.

Nava claimed that despite numerous complaints about the potential for falls and the uneven floor in her unit, the property managers did nothing.

“I just feel neglected, especially because I’m disabled,” Nava said.

Residents claimed that some of the rooms had been sprayed, and they believe this to be a sign that things will get better.

“I like to pray about things though, and I’m going to pray about this one,” Hardy said. “Because sometimes, that does work.”


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