19 Troubleshooter: Cleveland woman hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning as she waits for landlord to fix furnace that’s been broken for months

Troubleshooter: Woman hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning as she waits for landlord to fix furnace that’s been broken for months

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A Cleveland woman is at her wit’s end. She has no heat and says her landlord hasn’t fixed the furnace in more than a month.

She’s been using her stove to stay warm, and now she’s sick because of it.

Valerie Freeman was recently released from Cleveland Clinic’s Lutheran Hospital after being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

She called the 19 News Troubleshooter Hotline for help.

Freeman has been living in a building at 81st and Madison in Cleveland since September.

Valerie Freeman says her landlord Desmond Buchannon has not fixed the furnace in her apartment for months. She was hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning after using her stove to keep warm.
Valerie Freeman says her landlord Desmond Buchannon has not fixed the furnace in her apartment for months. She was hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning after using her stove to keep warm. (Source: WOIO)

“I thought I was feeling the sickness of the flu,” she said. “Then when I stood up I got dizzy and thought I had pneumonia.”

She tells 19 News that for months she’s been contacting her landlord to fix the problems in her apartment.

“My furnace is outside in the backyard,” she said. “He didn’t give me no hot water until the second of February.”

A 19 News crew walked with her to the back of the building where she lives and cameras were rolling as snow surrounded her broken furnace.

Cleveland woman hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning after waiting months for landlord to fix broken furnace
Cleveland woman hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning after waiting months for landlord to fix broken furnace (Source: Valerie Freeman)

We called the owner, Desmond K. Buchannon, of Worldwide Property Investment & Rental Inc., to ask when he would fix the heat.

“We’re calling to find out what are you doing as the owner of this building?” said 19 News Reporter Sia Nyorkor.

“I told her go get a hotel room, rent a hotel room and keep the receipts, and I would credit her for her rent,” Buchannon said in a phone interview.

But Freeman tells 19 News she doesn’t have the money for a hotel stay so she’s been using space heaters since she was released from the hospital. She wants her landlord to do the right thing and fix the problems in the building.

Valerie Freeman says her landlord Desmond Buchannon has not fixed the furnace in her apartment for months. She was hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning after using her stove to keep warm.
Valerie Freeman says her landlord Desmond Buchannon has not fixed the furnace in her apartment for months. She was hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning after using her stove to keep warm. (Source: WOIO)

“He’ll be here Monday for some rent, and I pay my rent every month on time,” she said. “Come forward and do what he got to do and talk to me as a man,” said Freeman.

We asked Buchannon for a timeline of when he would fix or replace the furnace, and he told us a few days.

19 News will check back to make sure it gets done. In the meantime, 19 News has reached out to city of Cleveland leaders who have been appraised of the situation.

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