Heat, hot water back on at senior apartments

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A long nightmare for dozens of seniors at Madison Tower apartments is finally over.

The heat and hot water is finally back on after nine days in the cold. But while residents are happy now, many say it’s only a matter of time before something else goes wrong.

"It was freezing," said resident Johnny Tharp, who said he had to sleep covered in coats and blankets, and heat up water to put in his bathtub.

The taxpayer-subsidized high-rise is full of seniors, many of them disabled.

The problem started nine days ago, when two main water lines backed up and flooded the basement, damaging the boiler and furnace. Management kept telling tenants they were working on a fix.

A spokesman for the property says it took time to find needed parts. Tharpe believes it.

"You know, this building is too old to be even standing here," he said.

The spokesman also says management is coming up with ways to stop it from happening again, but tenants are skeptical.

"Been happening for the past 10 years that I've been here," Tharpe said.

Tharpe says lots of other things go wrong too.

"I hope it doesn't, but something else is going to break down today, probably."

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development investigated this latest incident, as did city code enforcement, which cited the property for no hot water and heat.

"I'd like to try to move somewhere but my rent is so cheap, I just got to hang here," Tharpe said.

Code Enforcement was supposed to inspect the property Thursday. WREG is waiting on those results and an update concerning the HUD investigation.