Apartment residents without power for days - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Apartment residents without power for days

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Residents of a southeast Austin apartment complex have been without water for 48 hours and are growing frustrated.

On Tuesday, however, management at the Forest Hill Apartments on Oltorf and Pleasant Valley Road told residents they expected the power to be turned on by the end of the night.

Allessandra Cannon and her roommate Kelly Kearns are hoping they will not have to go through another night without power.

"It has gotten hot during the day our dogs are panting," Kearns said. "My dog's nose was really dry last night. Almost, I thought he was going to have a heat stroke because he's a fuzzy dog. My fridge smells like something died in it because our food is rotten."

They said they lost $175 worth of groceries.

"I was watching TV and around 7:58 all the sudden I heard a boom, the lights went, and went off," Cannon said.

Eight buildings at the complex, or about 40 units, went dark. According to the Austin Code Compliance, a transformer blew damaging the underground wires that carry electricity.

The district manager of the complex did not want to speak on camera but told FOX 7 that she tried to get the city out immediately after it happened to cut off the power so work could be done. She says there was a delay in that communication.

According to the district manager, crews realized they would need parts out of Houston when they arrived. Work did not begin until Tuesday evening.

"No efforts to move us, no trying to put us up in a hotel or in a sister apartment, nothing," Kearns said. "Not even a notification on our door. Nobody's contacted us, nobody's emailed us."

Code Compliance officials say they did not know about the incident until FOX 7 called them.

"People have the right not to live in substandard conditions," Matthew Christianson said. "If they call 3-1-1 we will send an inspector out, verify the conditions do violate our code and issue a notice of violation required to be fixed."

Kearns and Cannon said they did call 3-1-1, but for some reason the message did not get to the right people. When a Code Compliance officer did arrive, the management was given a warning.

If the power is not back on by Wednesday, they will be cited per building.

"It's up to $2,000 per day, per violation," Christianson said.

"I want a pro-rated amount for the days that we've lost," Kearns said. "I definitely want to get reimbursed for our groceries."

Code Compliance has several open cases against the property. Residents told FOX 7 that they involve bee and bed bug infestations.

On Thursday, the Austin City Council will vote on three ordinances that would better regulate rental properties. One is a rental registration program. Apartments in three pilot areas, one of which includes Forest Hills, must register for mandatory inspections.

Under another proposed ordinance, repeat violators would be subject to even more inspections.

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