Dozens without heat after boiler breaks at Garfield Heights apartment complex

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - With temperatures in the single digits, it's tough to think of a worse time of year for the heat to go out, but that's exactly what happened at an apartment complex in Garfield Heights.

NM Residential Vice President Shawn Whiteman said the company bought new boilers for Rockside Place Apartments in spring of 2017. Less than a year later, they're already having issues that are impacting tenants, like Tamia Wells.

Wells told Cleveland 19 News she's using her oven to heat her home.

"It's just dangerous. I don't like having the oven on. I've never had to live like this. It's crazy," she said.

The boiler that heats Wells' Rockside Place Apartment broke. Now, she's doing her best to keep herself and her 1-year-old son warm.

On top of cranking up the oven, they laid down towels to block the drafty door wall and layered up.

"We had to bundle up, me and my mother, we had to literally have my son with us and bundle up all together and lay together so we could keep some kind of body heat," she said.

Wells said she's lived at Rockside Place Apartments for about three months and this is the first issue she's had, but, she said, it's a big one.

"We're all getting sick because it's cold. We step outside and it's still cold inside," Wells said.

According to management, about 30 tenants are in the same situation as Wells.

Whiteman told Cleveland 19 News a boiler broke Tuesday. While mechanics tried to fix it Wednesday, the water went out for a bit and a second boiler broke. The repair company ordered parts to fix the boilers and hope to have the heat back up and running Thursday.

Until then, the apartment complex is giving tenants heaters to help them battle the bitter cold.

"This is ridiculous. We have to live in these conditions and the rent is close to $700 a month and you're demanding rent in these type of conditions when it's below 6 degrees outside. We've got kids. It's not fair," Wells said.

Heat is included in tenant's rent. Whiteman said, once the boilers are fixed, management will "make it right" with the people who lost heat and, most likely, figure out a way to compensate them for the time they lived without heat.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.