Norwich — In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, James F. Jordan of East Hartford tried to make plans to have his older brother John Jordan come over for the holidays, but after Saturday, November 19, his calls and emails went unanswered.
On Tuesday November 22, James Jordan, 79, called Norwich Police for a health check on his brother John Jordan, 82, at his mobile home at Little Valley Mobile Home Park at 303 Mohegan Park Road.
On the evening of November 22, police found John Jordan dead under a collapsed floor in the mobile home, which had deteriorated to such an extent that police had difficulty photographing the scene for their records. Fire crews from the Taftville and Yantic Volunteer Companies responded and helped extricate Jordan from the home.
“I was kind of upset about how it happened down there,” James Jordan said. “I’ve been trying to get him out of there for years.”
But he said his brother adamantly refused to leave the house. He lived on basic Social Security benefits, and James helped him out “quite a bit.” City tax records showed that John Jordan purchased the home in July 2005.
The house had a water leak, first in the roof and then with a burst pipe, James Jordan said.
Dan Coley, city building official and supervisor of inspections, said the mobile home’s subfloor is constructed of pressboard, which is strong when dry but quickly deteriorates when wet. Coley said the water leak appeared to have lasted for a while and the floors in the mobile home were soaked and partially collapsed. A repair was evident in the hallway, but the bathroom, where Jordan failed, was worse.
James Jordan said his brother went to Backus Hospital about two years ago with an illness and James tried to get the hospital’s social worker not to release him until the home was checked. But by the time the social worker visited the elderly Jordan, he was already fired. A hospital nurse tried to make a home visit, but John Jordan refused to let the nurse in, James Jordan said.
Roger Savignac, a neighbor at the mobile home across from Jordan, described Jordan as a good friend and neighbor. The two had spoken often and Jordan always offered to help Savignac with anything he needed, including a drive to collect his car from the workshop.
“He was a nice guy,” Savignac said, “also a super nice neighbor.”
But while Jordan offered his help, he was “quite crippled,” Savignac said, “like me.” Savignac walks with sticks in each hand. He said Jordan was suffering from shortness of breath and just crossing the road to visit Savignac was a chore.
Over the past year, their face-to-face visits have pretty much ended, but they spoke on the phone about once a week. Savignac said he was never in Jordan’s trailer.
Savignac heard the commotion when police and firefighters arrived on November 22, but he did not go out to see what had happened. “I’m not the type to stand there and stare out the window and be a nosy neighbor,” he said.
The state coroner’s office listed Jordan’s cause of death as “pending further investigation.”
Building official Coley said privately owned mobile homes would be treated like any single-family home in the city. Inspectors check new home plumbing to ensure it is properly anchored, inspect repairs, renovations, new heating systems, and respond to emergencies.
A manager at the Little Valley Mobile Home Park office in Taftville said she was not authorized to speak to the media.
James Jordan said he and his brother, the only siblings, grew up in East Hartford and enjoyed “the normal things” growing up. John Jordan served in the US Marine Corps for four years and worked for Jason’s Soda Systems, Inc., a supplier of soda fountains and restaurant dispensers in South Windsor.
John Jordan has been married several times, his brother said. He had two children but both have died, one in a motorcycle accident and the other from illness, James Jordan said. John Jordan had lived in several southeastern Connecticut towns, including Salem and Montville, before settling in Norwich.
James Jordan said he was working on plans for his brother’s funeral and to get his affairs in order but it was difficult because the mobile home was run down and he couldn’t get inside to collect documents and belongings. There are red ‘unsafe, do not enter’ signs on both doors of the mobile home.
D’Esopo East Hartford Memorial Chapel is handling the funeral arrangements that are ongoing.