Home News Local News Natural gas is restored for most at Summit Apartments

Natural gas is restored for most at Summit Apartments

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Natural gas service is back on in nine of the 13 apartment buildings at Roswell Summit Apartments, a gas company representative confirms. It had been turned off for six days starting Oct. 7, leading some residents to accept the offer of free hotel rooms. The remaining four apartment buildings are expected to be repaired in one to three weeks. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Nine of the 13 apartment buildings at Roswell Summit Apartments now have gas service, with repairs expected to be completed for the other four buildings with apartment units within three weeks, a gas company representative and property manager have said.

Jeff Curry of the property management firm J.L. Gray Co. and Tim Korte, a spokesperson with the New Mexico Gas Co., both confirmed that gas service has been restored to most of the apartments, which serve the elderly and the disabled.

A significant gas leak in the complex at 1600 W. Summit Ave. was discovered Oct. 7. As gas crews began testing lines, more problems were discovered and gas was turned off throughout the complex for six days, affecting at least 52 people who live in the south side apartment units. While 13 buildings on the property have four apartment units each, another building serves as an office and community room.

Without gas service, tenants were without hot water, heaters or an operable stove and oven starting last Saturday. By Monday, on-site staff were providing electric heaters, a unit in a different property for hot showers and hot meals for lunch and dinner. On Thursday, the owners and property managers had notified tenants they would need to leave by 4 p.m., Friday, staying with others or at hotel rooms provided free. But, on Friday, tenants were told they could stay in their units if they signed waivers indicating that they had been offered free hotel rooms.

A tenant who originally had expressed upset and concern over the situation was expressing gratitude Tuesday to the owners and managers and to local businesses and organizations that had helped with food or discounts on food.

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LaQuita Pierce said that tenants received checks Saturday from managers, stipends provided to cover the cost of food while tenants were unable to cook meals. She was among those who stayed a few days in a hotel room.

Curry acknowledged that the managers and owners, YES Housing of Albuquerque, had been aware that there were leaks and the odor of gas on the property for a time, but, he contended that the situation had not been a danger to tenants while the lines were operating under their normal low pressure.

“There has been a company that had been working with this for some time,” Curry said, “but it wasn’t until we actually found a leak that we could start to fix the problem.”

He explained that, once the leak began to be worked on, gas company inspections required testing that involved increasing the pressure in the lines to six times the normal amount. At that point, other leaks and problems were discovered throughout the complex, he said.

Curry said that he thinks that tenant upset subsided after the property management firm and owner addressed initial concerns that residents might be left without places to live.

“Once we were able to help the tenants understand that we were not going to be closing down the apartments and that they would have a place to live, things calmed down,” he said.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.