30/06/2022

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7 On Your Side helps rescue deposit checks for New Jersey apartment fire victims

ORANGE, New Jersey (WABC) — One single mom from New Jersey has had a rough two months, with a devastating death in the family followed by more misery when her apartment complex caught fire.

Now homeless, Kemesha Williams turned to Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side to help move her management company to cut through the red tape and help get the family back on their feet.

“I ran to my mother’s room and woke her up and told her it was a fire,” son Keyon Williams said. “And we rushed out of the building.”

It was a massive five alarm fire in Orange that topped our newscast.

“When the fire started, the only thing I grabbed was my bathrobe, my cell phone, and my keys,” Kemesha Williams said.

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Incredibly, everyone got out of the building with no serious injuries reported. But now, Kemesha and Keyon Williams are among more than 160 displaced residents. Some were put up by the Red Cross, with most still sheltering in temporary housing.

“They have people sleeping on cots,” Kemesha said. “I chose not to stay there.”

She can’t move into a new place, though, because the management company has yet to return security deposits to residents.

“They told me that they didn’t see the security deposit in the system,” Kemesha said.

With their building charred and water damaged, they have been searching for affordable housing. But without the $1,800 and change the company is holding onto, they’ve got nowhere to go.

“My mom’s been contacting non-stop,” Keyon said. “And when she calls the office, they don’t want to pick up the phone.”

Being without a home is compounded because Kemesha’s beloved mom died unexpectedly just days before the fire. It was just the three of them living at 431 Park Avenue since Keyon was just a boy, and now, he’s graduating from college.

He’s the first in his family, and his Grandma MaryAnn won’t get to witness that proud moment.

“The loss of my grandmother and this, and the pressure of graduating, it’s too much,” he said.

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So we went to the office, letting them know Kamesha paid her security deposit years ago, and how she paid, by money order.

The company promised to contact headquarters for her records ASAP.

After we got in touch with the management company, they began getting nearly 80 displaced residents their deposit checks — and apologies — for the delay.

Kamesha got back her full deposit.

“I was surprised, because I received a call they had a check for me, $1,859 and some change,” she said. “Nina is the best. Because if it wasn’t for Nina, I wouldn’t got my security deposit back.”

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