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90-year-old resident concerned about second-hand smoke in housing complex

Posted at 6:35 PM, Nov 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-28 19:59:00-05

The family of Mary Fitch says the Blair Housing Authority isn't enforcing their no smoking policy in units at Parkview Manor. 

"It was fine until a chain smoker moved in the back of there. Wow. I was wheezing. I got asthma" said 90-year-old Mary Fitch. 

Her family says a neighbor's indoor smoking habit is leaving her no choice but to move. 

"I came in here and I could smell the smoke immediately," said Maria Bledsoe, Fitch's daughter.

"I could smell smoke also in the living room, smoke in the kitchen. Smoke when I came home from playing cards," said Fitch.

According to her family, Fitch's health declined, leading to hospitalization. 

After receiving a signed petition, the Blair Housing Authority agreed to move Fitch into a building housing no known smokers. 

The family's been pushing for stricter guidelines, including removing residents who violate smoking policies after three incidents. 

Fitch's family says those recommendations were rejected Tuesday by the Blair Housing Authority.

The Blair Housing Authority issued the following statement: 

"We take the health of our residents very seriously. As we try to in every circumstance we are trying to within reason address the concerns of Ms. Fitch. While there are two sides to every story we are not allowed by law to publicly discuss her personal situation. We, without going into detail, can assure that we have reviewed and attempted to address her concerns. It is clear that we may have not addressed them to her full satisfaction but we have addressed them in a manner that is a reasonable response to those requests. 

"As far as our policy is concerned we have passed a 'smoke free' policy that meets the requirements of the law. Our residents will not be allowed to smoke in their units or within legal boundaries of our properties. To require as has been suggested to pass a "smoker free policy" whereby we, would not allow anyone who is a consumer of nicotine products on our properties, and we would be required or require our residents to submit to testing of their urine for the presence of nicotine is not a reasonable policy in concept or practice."