Without a place to live, victims of Shanks Lane arson now dealin - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Without a place to live, victims of Shanks Lane arson now dealing with another tragedy

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A woman and her two children were killed in the fire. A woman and her two children were killed in the fire.
Danesha Peden, 26, is accused of pouring gas on the building and setting it on fire. Danesha Peden, 26, is accused of pouring gas on the building and setting it on fire.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -

Losing their homes and friends in a fire is a tragedy Juanisha Saunders and her friends will always remember.

“I don't mean to cry, but we don't got nowhere to live,” Saunders said. “It's bad enough we have to deal with the fact that we jumped out of these windows ... We lost friends in this building.

“It haunts us every day. I can't sleep. I don't sleep. And even during the day, I'm dozing off and different things because my mind just keeps running back to that night. At night time, when it's time to go to bed, I can't go get in my own bed.”

The six families who lived in the apartment complex on Shanks Lane are still searching for a new place to live. Danesha Peden, 26, is accused of pouring gas on the building and setting it on fire after a domestic dispute more than two weeks ago. A mother and her two children were killed.

“My kids, they literally go to sleep crying talking about ‘Mama save me,’ and we are moving house to house ... apartments to apartments,” Jasmine Johnson said. “We don't actually have a stable home.”

Saunders and her friends tossed children out of the windows before jumping out themselves. but their nightmare isn't over. Their windows were smashed, and Saunders said thieves broke in and stole everything of value. She is left to pick up the pieces, and she’s hitting hurdles finding a new home.

“We were living out here, not because we really wanted to, but because of our backgrounds or because of our rental history or because we have a conviction on your rental history,” Saunders said. “Because we have backgrounds or because we have an eviction, we can't have a home?”

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Jessica Green said people in the community need to step up and lend a hand to the struggling families.

“I think there are some compassionate landlords that are out there,” Green said. “And I'm calling on all friends of mine across the city to say to people that if someone comes to you, these families in particular, if they come to you, and just because they have an eviction on their record or their finances may not be at a certain place, please give them a chance.”

Saunders said she doesn't want anyone's money, she doesn't want clothes, she just wants an opportunity to put her past in the past and put a roof over her head.

“They're not here because they're not good people," Green said. "They're not in this situation because they don't want to work or they have not worked or they don't have a history of working. What they now need is a chance to be able to get on the ground and running again.”

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