CHICAGO (CBS) — It was like camping out in the winter – that is how an Avondale neighborhood woman describes sleeping in her home without heat.
And she said when she complained to the gas company, she was told her situation was not an emergency.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli heard Chelsea McFadden’s frigid story on Monday.
“It’s funny to see your breath in your own apartment,” McFadden said as she turned on a space heater.
It wasn’t really. She did not find the situation very amusing at all. But she said her breath is what she saw inside her apartment over the weekend.
“I definitely got close to tears a couple of times when dealing with Peoples Gas,” McFadden said.
That is because on Friday, in the middle of the coldest weather of the season, the gas company cut off the supply needed to heat McFadden’s apartment.
So the 30-year-old began running water to prevent the pipes from freezing. But she never imagined that three days later, she’d still be shivering in the cold temperatures.
“As you can see right now, it is 50 degrees, which is an improvement over when we got in here, it was 49 degrees,” McFadden said.
Thus, everyone was wearing winter coats – inside – when Puccinelli did his interview with McFadden.
“It’s not habitable for anything to live in here,” McFadden said.
So after moving out their cats, McFadden and her wife moved into a hotel.
“I’m thinking that by the time this is all, you know, over with, we may be out $500 or more,” she said.
McFadden says she thought the gas bill was covered in her rent. But she said Peoples Gas officials informed her they cut off her supply because the account had been in the previous tenant’s name for the past three years.
“The thing that’s so frustrating and sad is just if someone had said something before this happened, we could have avoided it,” McFadden said.
But McFadden said nothing was said, and the gas was cutoff without notice.
“I think to turn off gas service when you know that it’s people’s heat and it’s zero degrees – it’s just without compassion,” she said.
CBS 2 spoke late Monday afternoon with Peoples Gas. The company said service will be turned back on Monday night, and they are investigating exactly what happened.
As a policy, Peoples Gas does not disconnect in the winter months with the exception of safety concerns.