Residents of Norfolk senior center struggling with no AC

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by Cleve Bryan, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on April 11, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 11 at 7:04 PM

NORFOLK--Spring heat is causing big problems for some residents of a Norfolk senior living complex who say management won't turn on the air conditioning.

Residents like 77-year-old Phyllis Barnette and her son Bill say the heat has been unbearable this week in their apartment at John Knox Towers in Ghent.

"We both have diabetes and when the sun hits our side of the building the heat is just terrible," Bill said.

Bill showed 13News a flier from management that states the air conditioning won't go on until May 15.

"If it continues to be hot, are we supposed to suffer for the next month?" questioned Barnette.

According to the City of Norfolk, private apartment complexes like the Knox Towers are obligated by code to provide heat until May 15, but there are no obligations for air conditioning.

13News contacted Lawson Companies, which manages Knox Towers, and learned they plan to turn on the air conditioning by May 1.

Lawson spokeswoman Susan Glancy explained the company does not want residents to suffer but by code they must provide heat and the Knox heating and cooling system only allows for one or the other to run.

Glancy said that it takes about a day for the heat to restart and they expect temperatures over the weekend to dip into the 50's at night.

Glancy added that fans are available to residents who need them.

Barnette worries about residents in the interim, like his mother, who have breathing difficulties from COPD.  "Common sense says there's more management can do for us," says Barnette.

13 News checked with Norfolk EMS and there weren't any 911 calls in the last 48 hours related to the heat at Knox Towers.

Norfolk city spokeswoman Lori Crouch says residents with complaints may call the Better Business Bureau, the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy at 1-800-522-3962 or if they are a senior suffering a health problem they can call Adult Protective Services at (757) 664-6123.

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