No power or air conditioning forces evacuation of New Albany public housing tower
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- No air conditioning and no power forced more than 100 people from their homes in New Albany.
At Riverview Towers, which is a public housing tower, the air conditioning went out last week, and the entire building lost power Monday. Small fires to the electric system forced the New Albany Housing Authority (NAHA) to evacuate the building.
Many of the tenants are elderly or disabled, and they salvaged food and packing clothes Monday to take with them.
"I'll probably be able to salvage this orange juice. That's about it," said Richard Talbott, who lives in one of the 164 units that evacuated the tower.
The city has a 10-year plan to upgrade buildings in the housing authority. So New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan said the city wasn't surprised by the most recent maintenance problems.
"I would just say be patient," Gahan said of displaced residents. "I can't imagine us doing anything drastic to this property right now. Our intention is to restore the electric power and make sure it's a safe building."
The tower was built in 1975. Housing authority officials said the building's age factors into the repair process.
"We've had several electrical engineers on-site trying to come up with ways we could get the electricity back on," said Tony Toran, Deputy Executive Director of NAHA. "They were unable to do so."
Toran said special parts need to be ordered to fix the electric system, which could cause a delay. In the meantime, the housing authority promises to provide a hotel room and meals until the building is fixed.
"We are committed to providing for them and making sure they're accommodated for as long as this problem exists," Toran said. "And we are doing everything we possibly can to get it remedied very soon."
It's not clear how much it will cost to make repairs. Right now, there is no estimated time for when tenants can return to the building.
"They'll make sure we're all taken care of ... We're not gonna starve," said tenant Richard Nichol. "I'm just glad I have a place to live, thank goodness."
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