RRHA working on fixing boiler; space heaters issued to residents

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) –  8News continues to investigate more than a dozen residents without heat in Richmond’s Fairfield Court.

A boiler broke down last week impacting three buildings and 20 apartments, forcing those residents of Fairfield Court to be without heat until the end of next week.

As apartments in Creighton court receive new heating units, RRHA now responds to a broken boiler at Fairfield Court.

Fairfield Court houses over 30 boilers for its 400 plus units, each of which are checked by staff to see if they are functioning properly.

However, simple repairs do not fix aging equipment.

“The coils were in bad shape,” said RRHA Interim CEO Orlando Artze

Artze says the 35-year-old boiler had caused problems for residents in the past but a simple repair from RRHA crews usually solved the issue.

“It was really at a point that we had to replace the existing boiler,” said Artze.

Crews removed the boiler and a new boiler has been ordered and should be installed by the end of the week.

In the meantime, residents will have to do with space heaters. 8News spoke with Dorothy Roane, a resident of Fairfield court, about the new conditions for her and her neighbors.

“The heaters are in my house,” said Roane.  “The heaters work real good cause they keep your whole house warm. so I’m happy about that.”

Roane has lived in Fairfield court for 15 years, but this is the first time she has gone without heat.

“Stuff happens,” said Roane.  “It happens. I won’t mad. I understand it.”

Roane does, however, expect stronger communication between the authority and residents

“At least come out here and see what’s going on,” said Roane.  “And stop having us wait for like two weeks.”

Artze says he is working with the commissioners right now to identify immediate problems, fix them and then quickly report back to residents.

“Come up with a long-term plan for trying to anticipate and resolve those heat issues before they happen,” said Artze.

A group of community activists that called for former RRHA CEO T.K. Somanath’s resignation, plan to announce new demands in front of City Hall that they expect to be fulfilled.

One of those demands includes better communication between the RRHA and the residents.

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