Brother of man found deceased in Norwich mobile home tried to get him services
Norwich ― The week before Thanksgiving, James F. Jordan of East Hartford tried to make plans to have his older brother, John Jordan, come up for the holiday, but after Saturday, Nov. 19, his calls and emails went unanswered.
On Tuesday, Nov. 22, James Jordan called Norwich police to do a wellness check on his 82-year-old brother at his mobile home in the Little Valley Mobile Home Park at 303 Mohegan Park Road.
On the evening of Nov. 22, police found John Jordan dead beneath a collapsed floor in the mobile home, which was so deteriorated police had difficulty photographing the scene for their records. Firefighters from the Taftville and Yantic volunteer companies responded and assisted in extricating Jordan from the home.
“I was kind of upset about how it happened down there,” James Jordan said. “I had been trying to get him out of there for years.”
But he said his brother stubbornly refused to leave the home. He was living on basic Social Security benefits, and James helped him out “quite often.” City tax records showed John Jordan purchased the home in July 2005.
The home had a water leak, first in the roof and then with a burst pipe, James Jordan said.
City Building Official and Director of Inspections Dan Coley said the mobile home’s subflooring was built with pressboard, which is strong when dry but deteriorates quickly when wet. Coley said the water leak apparently had been going on for a while, and the floors in the mobile home were saturated and partially collapsed. One repair was evident in the hallway, but the bathroom, where Jordan fell through, was worse.
James Jordan said about two years ago, his brother went to Backus Hospital for a medical condition, and James tried to get the hospital social worker to not release him until the home was checked. But by the time the social worker went to see the elder Jordan, he already was released. A hospital nurse tried to make a home visit, but John Jordan refused to let the nurse in the home, James Jordan said.
Roger Savignac, a neighbor in the mobile home across the street from Jordan’s described Jordan as a good friend and neighbor. The two had talked often, and Jordan always offered to help with anything Savignac needed, including a ride to pick up his car at the repair shop.
“He was a nice guy,” Savignac said, “a super nice neighbor, too.”
But while Jordan offered to help, he was “quite handicapped,” Savignac said, “like myself.” Savignac walks with the assistance from canes in each hand. He said Jordan suffered from shortness of breath and it was a chore just to cross the street to visit with Savignac.
During the past year, their in-person visits pretty much ended, but they talked on the phone about once a week. Savignac said he was never inside Jordan’s mobile home.
Savignac heard the commotion when police and fire crews arrived on Nov. 22, but he did not go out to see what happened.
“I’m not the type to stand and stare out the window and be a nosy neighbor,” he said.
The state Medical Examiner’s office listed Jordan’s cause of death as “pending further study.”
Building Official Coley said privately-owned mobile homes are treated as any single-family home in the city. Inspectors check on new home installations to make sure they are anchored properly, inspect repairs, renovations, new heating systems and respond to emergencies.
A manager at the Little Valley Mobile Home Park’s Taftville office said she was not authorized to speak with the media.
James Jordan said he and his brother, the only siblings, grew up in East Hartford and enjoyed “the regular things” growing up. John Jordan served for four years in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked for Jason’s Soda Systems, Inc., a South Windsor supplier of soda fountain and dispensary equipment to restaurants.
John Jordan was married multiple times, his brother said. He had two children, but both are deceased, one in a motorcycle crash and the other of illness, James Jordan said. John Jordan had lived in various southeastern Connecticut towns, including Salem and Montville before settling in Norwich.
James Jordan said he is working on plans for a funeral for his brother and to settle his affairs, but it is difficult because the mobile home is condemned, and he cannot get inside to gather documents and belongings. Red placards marked “Unsafe, do not Enter” have been posted on both doors of the mobile home.
D’Esopo East Hartford Memorial Chapel is handling funeral arrangements, which have not yet been finalized.