by: Richard Belcher Updated:
ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has learned state and federal authorities will ask federal prosecutors to move on a case involving hundreds of local homes that could be contaminated with toxic gas.
Investigative reporter Richard Belcher said this comes as efforts are made to correct possibly lethal mistakes in those homes.
Channel 2 has been following the story since early last year when the nonprofit group called Partnership for Community Action was caught failing to inspect hundreds of homes in which the agency had improved the insulation.
More insulation means a greater chance of trapping carbon monoxide in the home.
Southeast Energy Assistance is re-inspecting the homes.
Glenda Puckett is calling some of the hundreds of low-income homeowners whose homes were given better insulation, but no final inspection. The critical final step is to check for build-ups of carbon monoxide.
Clarkston-based P.C.A. isn't commenting on the investigation, but Channel 2 has learned it received nearly $12 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize homes for low-income residents.
State authorities found 1,139 homes P.C.A. had not properly inspected in DeKalb, Gwinnett, Rockdale and Newton counties. The state said re-inspections will cost well over $1.3 million.
They know they'll meet more people like Brinca McMickens, whose home was found to be contaminated last year.
“My reaction then was like, ‘Oh my God!’ It's been nine, almost 10 months and we've been living with carbon monoxide seeping through my home,” McMickens said.
The state inspector general and the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Energy are investigating. They're expected to ask the U.S. Attorney's Office to open a criminal investigation.
S.E.A said it's finding that in many homes the required tests weren't completed or worse, gas appliances actually failed the safety test -- and P.C.A did nothing.
Interim State Inspector General Deb Wallace didn't comment on the substance of the investigation but she praised the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, which ferreted out the unsafe work and got her office involved.