City officials intervene after Colony Apartment residents without heat, water for days
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — According to Mayor Daniel Rickenmann and other city officials, residents of The Colony Apartments on West Beltline Boulevard have been without water and heat for three days.
Mayor Rickenmann says the Monroe Group that oversees The Colony Apartments was notified on December 9th about rising issues, but failed to act.
Tuesday night, the city paid for residents to stay in local hotels and provided them transportation to the hotels via Comet buses.
The apartments were since deemed an unsafe tenant space by the Columbia Fire Prevention Division; residents cannot return until improvements are made.
Mayor Rickenmann says the owners of The Colony Apartments are not doing enough and says the owners have been extremely hard to reach.
“I mean we had people in the apartments that were below 50 degrees. (Below) 35 degrees. People with kids. Pregnant. A 96-year-old woman. A gentleman who was 77-years-old just came back from dialysis. This has been decades of issues in that complex and we gotta change it. We’re no longer gonna allow it to operate the way it is,” Mayor Rickenmann says.
To speed up the process, the mayor says the city has hired a contractor to fix the broken heating and water systems and will bill the Monroe Group after the work is done.
“We can’t leave people in that situation. That is not who Columbia, South Carolina is and that is not who they’re gonna be moving forward,” says Mayor Rickenmann.
Perry Bradley and his non-profit organization “Building Better Communities” is helping residents by providing food and other needs.
Bradley says officials may not have known about the heat and water issues had it not been for the shooting death of a female victim at The Colony Apartments on Tuesday.
“Officials were out here yesterday looking at the situation with the shooting. A lot of residents started saying look , we haven’t had heat for three days,” says Bradley.
Mayor Rickenmann agrees, saying, “The only reason we found out about the heat is because of that shooting. Because residents told our officers when they were investigating that shooting. So yes — they’re interactive. It’s part of that root. We’ve got to change that whole atmosphere of how people are treated and how they’re living and give people an opportunity to be successful and I think the system has not worked in their favor.”
According to Mayor Rickenmann, the city is currently checking to make sure no other health violations exist in the apartments. He believes residents will be able to return to their homes as soon as tomorrow.