CHICAGO (CBS) — The big chill is over for hundreds of residents of a Lincoln Park apartment building that had been without heat for more than five days.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, a chimney leaking carbon monoxide forced the hand of the management of the building at 2738 N. Pine Grove Ave., in the Park West section of Lincoln Park.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
The management company, Lakeview Associates Inc., responded to the problem by shutting down heat and hot water, and telling residents they would be out of luck for at least two or three weeks. The company told residents they could either leave the building, or get February rent free.
Tenants of the 14-story, 107-unit building just south of Diversey Parkway were advised to use space heaters and ovens to keep warm in the meantime. That advice drew the ire of the Fire Department, which said that move could be dangerous.
The handling of the situation by the management company didn’t sit well with the Chicago Department of Buildings either. This past Thursday, city officials took building owners to court and threatened to take over the building if nothing would be fixed for three whole weeks.
The judge ordered a temporary heating system to be in place by Monday. By Sunday evening, the heat had fired up.
“It’s awesome,” said resident Margot Grier. “It’s really hot in my house, and my shower is hot, and I had a good morning.”
During the heat outage, some residents took the situation in stride. One woman described living “like Laura Ingalls Wilder,” with daily routines that involved “putting water over my stove and stuff, and pouring it over myself for a shower.”
But another resident, Collin Hutton, decided to move out of the building altogether. He complained that the building management also did not respond sufficiently to the carbon monoxide leak.
“It was our CO detectors that were going off. The Fire Department was getting 60 parts per million in our apartment, and 100 parts per million in another girl’s apartment, and they didn’t even do anything the first time they got these readings,” Hutton said. “They cleaned our stoves was what they did.”
Because tenants were using space heaters, a judge ordered the managers to hire guards to patrol the building around the clock in case of a fire.
Now, the management company says it will pay up to $100 to residents who had t buy space heaters.