Building where metro teen died in elevator being hit with several violations, fines

ATLANTA — An Atlanta apartment complex where a teenager died in an elevator accident is being hit with thousands of dollars in fines for several safety violations.

Channel 2′s Matt Johnson learned that not only are the complex’s elevators not up to code, they are also being hit with violations for their boilers. The state says those boilers were ordered to be cut off, but the complex turned them back on by the next day.

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Last month, Jaumarcus McFarland, 18, died after he became trapped between the second and third floors of the Atlanta high-rise, 444 Highland Avenue.

McFarland, who attended Champion Prep Academy, lived in the building with several other football players.

Jalen Wiley is a business major at Georgia State University who told Johnson that he lives in the building for its convenience, but now he doesn’t feel safe there.

“Hopefully it’ll get fixed, but like stuff never really changes,” he said.


The State Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire’s Office is slapping the complex with $2,500 in fines, which is added to a $5,000 fine they already owed.

Investigators found 16 issues with a different elevator on the property than the one that killed McFarland.

The one that crushed him was overdue for an inspection at the time of his death.

The list of violations shows that the people hired to make repairs to the elevators were not licensed to do so.

Keith Allen says he rented an office space in the building and worked security for the property manager, Nathan Phillips, until this week.

“I wouldn’t suggest this to anybody,” Allen said. “You have all kinds of mold and mildew, bathrooms that haven’t been cleaned in months, things have odors.”

Allen’s security guard partner also told Johnson that it would be difficult to get a response from management.

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Multiple residents who wanted to remain anonymous also said that they are living without hot water or working elevators and have major concerns about their health and safety.

“I paid this much rent and like y’all can’t even keep guaranteed the basic necessities,” one said.

Johnson reached out to the property manager for a comment, but he did not respond. The last time Phillips spoke about the incident was shortly after McFarland’s death, and said that he could not comment until the state’s investigation was over.