AUSTIN (KXAN) — People living in a new apartment complex in northeast Austin have gone without heat or hot water for three weeks.
Residents contacted KXAN to complain that the natural gas service to The Villages at Fiskville, an apartment complex for people 55 and older, had been cut off.
The company that owns the complex, LDG Development, confirmed that management turned off the gas because of a leak. It’s still unknown how the leak happened or where the source of it is, according to Christi Lanier-Robinson with LDG Development.
Lanier-Robinson said the company brought in a third-party engineer to try and find the source of the gas leak.
The Texas Gas Service and its investigation determined that the problem is not coming from one of its own pipelines. The utility released the following statement:
Texas Gas Service’s investigation at 10127 Middle Fiskville Road revealed an unknown source of gas near the building structure. We confirmed that this gas is not from Texas Gas Service’s pipelines. As a safety precaution, we disconnected natural gas service to the complex until the property owner is able to identify and fix the situation. Natural gas service will remain off to the property until this situation is mitigated.
Safety is our top priority. We would like to remind everyone that if you think you smell natural gas, leave the area immediately then call 911 and the Texas Gas Service Emergency Line at 1-800-959-5325 (monitored 24/7). Do not use any electrical equipment such as phones, garage doors or light switches until you are a safe distance away from the odor.
Lanier-Robinson said the company has offered space heaters to the residents. Lodging at a nearby hotel has also been provided to those that want it, but she said only one person has accepted that offer. The company has also waived rent for the month of January because of the ongoing issue.
William Staples, whose 81-year-old father moved into the building two weeks ago, worries about what will happen if the temperatures get any colder.
“This is a first-world nation,” Staples said. “We should not have our elderly living without heat and hot water — the basics.”
A couple of residents have also asked to be released from their lease agreements, which Lanier-Robinson said the company had granted.
She said there are communal showers available for residents that are connected to electrically-powered water heaters, so they can use those to bathe.