Apartment Building in Hot Water with Seniors

Seniors say their taps have run cold for weeks

Nothing will warm you up like a hot shower. But, that’s not a luxury hundreds of South Bay senior citizens can count on during this cold snap.

The residents at the Town Place Towers on North Third Street in San Jose have not had consistent hot water since Jan. 3.

Resident Gilda Lewis ran her tap for NBC Bay Area for more than five minutes before it ran warm, and it was the same story with her shower. Lewis says that for many of her neighbors – who are elderly and have disabilities – a cold shower isn’t just a shock, it’s dangerous.

“A lot of them are on walkers, scooters, a lot of them have to have help getting into and out of the shower so if you’re in the shower when it turns cold, you’re going to get hurt getting out,” Lewis said.

Ruby Sze was all soaped up in the shower on Saturday night when it turned cold. Now, she says she’s afraid to bathe again.

“I just know I’m going to get sick," she said. "I don’t know when I should take a shower, I don’t know how long the hot water will be there.”

Not providing residents with water that is 110-degrees or higher is a violation of City of San Jose ordinance and must be remedied within 24-hours. However, there is some hot water at the Town Place Towers, so management will get a bit more time. A city code enforcement inspector was dispatched.

“It’s an intermittent problem. The boiler company did provide a temporary boiler but it appears to be some other issues in some of the other units where the water is not getting to the units themselves,” said Diane Buchanan, interim Code Enforcement director.

Buchanan says that when the boiler was first installed in 2007, the management company did not have the proper permits. They do now, but have been cited in years past for other minor violations not related to the boiler.

According the spokesman for Town Place Towers in Phoenix, the part to repair the main boiler is on order and the main boiler should be repaired in the next week or two. The city suggested to the management company that they inspect the taps for signs of buildup.

In the meantime, a group of residents is keeping close tabs on the management’s response.

“Everybody needs to have hot water, not just some people, not just one side of the building. Everybody needs to have the same thing, not just when they say we can have it,” Lewis said.

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