No heat since November
SHELBY— Several residents at Cardinal Lofts apartments in Shelby say they have been without heat since Thanksgiving.
“We are doing what we can to stay warm,” said tenant Randi Riessen.
She said the issues with the heating unit are on one side of the apartment complex, and there are six occupied and two unoccupied apartments with no heat.
“I’ve lived here for about six years, and we have had issues with the air and heat in the past, but it has always been fixed within a few days,” she said.
Before, all issues were addressed by an apartment manager. However, she said, “Our last landlady quit, there is no one to get a hold of.”
Riessen called the local number listed on the Cardinal Lofts website, and sent emails to the contact information. She said the complex has a maintenance man, but he hasn’t been able to fix the issue.
“If you look on the website to see when the office is open, all the days say ‘Closed’,” Riessen said.
She reached out to Weigand-Omega Management, Inc., a Wichita, KS based third-party property management company listed on the website and was directed to the Cardinal Loft’s district manager, but none of her calls were returned or emails answered.
Jordon Sanders, Shelby County Assistant EMA Coordinator, said he was notified of the heating issues at Cardinal Lofts two days before the severe temperatures hit Shelby.
“It’s a bad situation,” Sanders said. “Unfortunately, there’s not much our agency can do for this particular circumstance.”
After several voice mails, Sanders was contacted by an off-site manager, and was told a certified maintenance person from Des Moines will come to repair the heating unit. However, the earliest available date is January 5.
Riessen said her apartment is small enough she has been maintaining a “somewhat comfortable” temperature by using two space heaters, but admitted she worries about safety issues.
She also expressed concern for her neighbor’s young children.
“It’s just freezing. No one should have to deal with this,” she said.
December 22, the temperatures dropped below freezing outside and wind chill temperatures approached -40°.
“I thought to myself, it’s going to get real cold here real soon,” she said.
The lack of heat and communication had “ruined her Christmas spirit.” Then Christmas afternoon, Riessen said the fire alarms in the hallway started going off.
“I looked out my apartment and there was water just flooding out of the ceiling into the hallway. After about 10 minutes, the ceiling fell and made a huge wave of water run into the hallway.”
She was told the pipes to the sprinkler system had froze and broke. Riessen said the maintenance man cleaned the water, but the ceiling was still leaking. “The water got to the doorways of five apartments before it was shut off.”
Sanders said he was aware of the malfunctioning sprinkler system and water leak, and verified it was in the same area of the building that had been without heat.
The apartment complex was originally the Shelby-Tenant school, built in 1935. The three-story building was converted to a 34 unit apartment complex in 2014.
Riessen has resolved to relocate.
“It’s time for me to get out of here.”
Harlan Newspapers contacted apartment officials for comment, but they did not return calls or emails.
As of publication, the heating situation had not been fixed.