Family believes power outage at Charlotte apartment complex led to woman's death

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A north Charlotte senior community finally had its power restored after losing power for more than 24 hours.

Relatives of a woman who died while the power was knocked out at the Gables Senior Apartments said they believe she would still be alive if the elevators were working and she had access to her oxygen.

[MICHAEL'S AFTERMATH: Schools closed, thousands without power across Carolinas]

Members of 63-year-old Denise McCloud's family told Channel 9 she collapsed while trying to make it up to her fourth-floor apartment at the apartment complex.

“I was told my mom made it to her floor and she collapsed,” said Ronessia Byers, McCloud’s daughter. "She's usually on oxygen a lot."

Byers said a friend tried to help McCloud when she collapsed.

“She just kept saying, ‘Denise, come on now. Get up. Try to get up,’ and my mom took one more breath, and then she said she didn't get up no more," Byers said.

Residents of the affordable housing community said they have been without power since 2 p.m. Thursday because of the storm.

[POWERFUL IMAGES: Catastrophic damage caused by Michael across Southeast]

Family members believe McCloud’s death was preventable.

“Just having a generator, period, would keep these people going,” Byers said.

“Do you regret not having a generator?” reporter Kristin Leigh asked Julie Porter, president of Housing Partnership, a nonprofit that manages affordable housing complexes.

“Up until very recently, we just found out, there was no allowance under code to have a generator because it was considered a fire hazard. Now, it is allowed by code,” Porter said.

Porter said she’s considering improvements while offering condolences to the family.

”Just a terrible situation; one that we could not control, but certainly we're looking into it to see if there's anything we can do,” Porter said.

Other residents told Channel 9 they want changes before the next power outage.

“I think they need a generator and more protocol for situations like this,” said Shaketa Goodman, who has family members living at the apartments.

The Housing Partnership released the below statement about the storm impacts at the Gables and another community, Tyvola II.

Yesterday, during the impact of Hurricane Michael in Charlotte, two of The Housing Partnership properties lost power and continue to be without. During this time, an elderly resident at The Gables, a senior community, passed away in her unit. This is all we know at this time. The Housing Partnership is saddened by this news and we are thinking about her family and friends during this difficult time.

The Housing Partnership along with its property management partners are committed to the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents. We are working with Duke Energy, CMPD and others on this situation and are ensuring all necessary protocols are being followed.

We understand this is a difficult situation for our residents and are doing what we can to keep them comfortable and safe until the power is restored. For our residents at The Gables and Tyvola II we provided dinner last night and breakfast this morning and will give gift cards to residents to replace perishable groceries. We realize Duke Energy is dealing with a lot of outages right now and know they are doing the best they can under the circumstances.