Houston woman to push for city ordinance to require space between cemeteries, buildings

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by Jacqueline Crea / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on March 29, 2014 at 12:12 AM

Updated Saturday, Mar 29 at 11:57 AM

West Dallas apartment fire

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HOUSTON -- Trisha Keel has been in the spotlight lately for her outrage that an apartment complex was being built too close to a cemetery, and especially because those comments came the day before it went up in flames.

"I feared absolutely there would be police at my door," said Keel, a Feng Shui Consultant and Houston resident. "I had people say, 'I'm not gonna make her mad.' Which was kidding. Did you light that fire? Kidding."

It was a strange coincidence, but it just made her message even stronger.

"This was burned right here because of its proximity," said Keel.

She says the cemetery could've been saved if there was more space for firefighters to access the burning building.

"I know at hotels and hospitals and schools, there’s fire lanes. How come there’s no fire lane," said Keel. "There's no space to put a truck. I mean you can’t walk between the headstone and the fence."

She plans on going to city council on Tuesday to propose an ordinance.

“I want them to work with the emergency personnel, firemen, ambulance, police, whoever. How much space do you need between a cemetery and a five story building or two homes," said Keel.

While Trisha may have been the most outspoken against building an apartment complex next to a cemetery, people visiting Friday seemed to agree with her. They say it’s difficult to see how the cemetery was damaged by the fire.

"I feel like the aftermath is a disaster. They put a lot of people in danger and I'm sure it was unavoidable, but we just came to make sure everything in here was alright," said Lucy Lomeli, a Houston resident. "You can’t relocate here, but they could do something about leaving space between. Let them rest in peace in the new apartments.”

"I think they probably won’t build close. They'll build on this side, but not over there I would assume," said Dora Manolopoulos, a Houston resident.

Whether or not that will happen depends if Keel can get her message across to city leaders. Glenn Telge, the cemetery's manager, will assess the fire damage over the weekend.

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