Today marks the ninth day residents at 221 S. High St., Warsaw, have been without heat, a matter that has spawned an inspection by the Kosciusko County Health Department.
Bob Weaver, administrator of the Kosciusko County Health Department, was especially troubled by our report that residents in the 7-unit apartment building that is owned by Bowen Center had been living with space heaters since Jan. 8. Wednesday afternoon, Weaver and Bill Baxter, environmentalist for the health department, both visited four of the five rented units in the building Wednesday afternoon to assess the situation.
Weaver told StaceyPageOnline.com that they spoke with the residents, went into each unit to evaluate the conditions and did leave with concerns. “We addressed safety issues with the heaters and even went back to the health department and returned with smoke alarms just because there is a concern with so many of the heaters,” he explained. One of the units, the largest in the building, had only one smoke detector.
Wednesday evening Weaver told us, “I’ll be calling the Bowen Center to find out when they plan to have the heat fixed.”
This afternoon, Weaver reported that Rich Hoffman, facilities manager for Bowen Center, said, “The heat will be fixed within 24 hours. I suppose something could happen but the intent is there.” Weaver added, “I’m convinced they are working on it.”
Weaver and Brown went to the apartment building so late in the day yesterday to look into the violation of the city’s rental ordinance, the only thing they really had time to do was make sure the residents knew how to safely use the space heaters. “But we will return to look at other things,” he said.
When first told of the situation at 221 S. High St. by StaceyPageOnline.com, Weaver said, “Warsaw has a rental ordinance that must be followed … space heaters are not an acceptable way to heat long term.”