Three victims were pulled out of the burning home. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
After a deadly fire on Valentine's Day killed three women living in a halfway house on Southwood Drive, the News4 I-Team is raising questions about dangerous conditions at other recovery houses in Nashville.
The Nashville Fire Department said there were no smoke detectors in south Nashville home.
A resident who was sent by the court system to live in another recovery house told the News4 I-Team he can’t stay silent any longer.
"People died in a recovery house,” the resident said. "They were trying to get their lives back together. They were trying to make a change..and they died."
The I-Team agreed not to use the man’s name. He was sent by the Davidson County Recovery Court to a house on Foxglove Drive.
As many as eight men live in the house, each paying $500 per month. The home is operated by a program called Phases.
He showed us a video he took to document conditions inside the house.
The video showed a messy, wet basement where he says the house manager and another man live.
The video showed that there are two smoke detectors in the basement, but the batteries appear to be dead.
He said there are none at all in the main living areas.
"There are no smoke detectors in our rooms," he said. "No smoke detectors in the kitchen. There are no smoke detectors anywhere on our floor of the house."
Property records show Pamela Kaye Grissom owns the house.
“I hope they make some repairs to the halfway houses that are a part of recovery court,” he said. "I want them to make sure that everyone who’s in our program to be safe."
Grissom's mailing address for tax bills is the office of Barrett Realty. Barrett also owned the house where the three women died.
The I-Team visited Barrett Realty but were told she was not there.
The lack of smoke detectors isn't the only issue at the halfway house on Foxglove Drive.
The resident said people who actively use drugs were rooming at the house.
One man, he said, was shooting heroin in the room they shared on his first day at the house.
"My roommate was not in recovery court and he was actively using heroin on a daily basis," he said.
The resident told the I-Team that he had been fighting a ten-year addiction to heroin, and had just moved from a jail cell to the recovery house.
“It’s a battle every day," he said. "It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, being put in a room, right when you get out, with someone who is using your drug of choice is very ironic."
Judge Gale Robinson oversees General Sessions Recovery Court. He was surprised to hear that people who were not in a recovery program were living in the house.
“What’s the point, then, of us sending them to a recovery house?" Robinson said. "Why wouldn’t we just send them home?”
Robinson said he’s concerned about the conditions at the halfway houses where he sends his defendants and would investigate this man's claims.
He said he'll push for the houses to at least meet Metro codes, including fire codes.
The resident said he reported the conditions to his probation officer but was told there was nothing they could do about it.
Halfway houses where addicts go for recovery are not inspected or licensed by the city or state because they are exempt as residences for the disabled.
"We need to address conditions," Robinson said. "I don't want anybody placed anywhere where they're unsafe."
Who in the court system knew about conditions at the house on Foxglove?
The News 4 I-Team found the director of the drug court’s treatment program, Nan Casey, has a family tie to the house on Foxglove. Her brother, Robert Yates, is the house manager who lives in the basement.
The I-Team visited the treatment center where Nan Casey worked. The day we visited, she announced her retirement. She has hired an attorney who declined to comment on the halfway house matter.
The attorney, Kimberly Hodde, confirmed she was hired by Nan Casey regarding the federal investigation into former Judge Casey Moreland.
Following a News4 I-Team investigation, Moreland is facing federal charges for allegedly intimidating a witness and his former lover, who said she had sex with Moreland and received favorable treatment in her case.
The FBI investigation into possible corruption at the courthouse is ongoing.
Nan Casey was mentioned in a Metro audit last year. Moreland had charged Nan Casey's travel expenses to the taxpayers. Auditors said that was wrong because she wasn't a Metro employee, she worked for the drug court foundation.
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