Broken boiler forces tenants to bundle up

March 15, 1992|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer

Leslie Wallace's two young children were bundled up for bed in undershirts and two sets of pajamas. As the temperature dropped last night into the 20s, a gas stove and two space heaters provided little warmth for their three-bedroom apartment Towson.

Last night, the Wallaces' apartment was one of 33 in the Hampton Apartments complex off Dulaney Valley Road that were without heat or hot water for the third consecutive night.

"It's cold," Mrs. Wallace said. "It's not too bad in the living room. But it's 55 degrees in the bedroom. I really don't like to use the space heaters overnight."

The family will spend the rest of the weekend with the oven door opened a crack, the stove fan running and the windows opened slightly. "If you don't do this with the window open, all the oxygen will run out and we could suffocate," her husband, Tim, said yesterday.

The boiler that provides heat and hot water for the apartments, which are owned by Tristar Management and Hampton Apartments Joint Venture, broke down early Wednesday, property manager Victoria Carter-Coke said.

"It's a handful of people making a mountain out of a molehill," she said. "As we speak, it is being replaced. It's a process that takes four to five days, and I cannot get the workers to work on Sunday."

Ms. Carter-Coke said a new boiler was ordered on Thursday when the old one, which serves half the complex, could not be fixed. Workers from an area fuel company have been working since then to get the new boiler up and running, she said.

On Friday, she said, the county health department gave the property management company until tomorrow to solve the problems with the boiler.

Meanwhile, the management company has passed out space heaters to tide residents over through the weekend.

"By Monday afternoon, barring any unforeseen problems, the heat and water should be on," Ms. Carter-Coke said.

But that was little comfort to residents. Forecasters predicted temperatures to drop into the teens late tonight and tomorrow morning.

"I don't want to leave the space heaters on when we are sleeping," said Conrad Huxhold, who said lack of heat and hot water has been a problem in the complex.

Ms. Carter-Coke said the management company paid for some residents to spend Wednesday and Thursday night in a nearby hotel, and tenants would not be charged rent for days the heat was off.

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