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Tenants at California Park East Apartments using ovens, space heaters, extra blankets to keep warm

Heating system falters in cold weather
Oven on for warmth
Posted at 10:29 PM, Feb 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 12:16:21-05

DENVER — The Valentine's Day weekend arctic blast is taking a toll on heating systems across Colorado. Several tenants at the six-story, 53-unit California Park East Apartment building in Curtis Park said they've been shivering for three days.

"It's cold and the heater doesn't — I mean it's on, but I'm not getting any heat. It's been like that since Friday," said resident Toni Johnson.

The long-time resident said she's been bundling up with blankets to stay warm.

Johnson's neighbor, Yoland Wordworth, set her oven at 350 degrees and left the door open.

"My utility bill is real high with that," she said, adding she pays for the electricity out of her own pocket.

The temperature in the hallway outside Wordworth's fourth-floor apartment stood at 36 degrees Sunday night.

Wordworth said she hasn't had dependable heat since she moved into the apartment.

She has two space heaters in her living room, but one of them doesn't work.

"It burned out," she said.

"Something has to be done," said Walter Marshall, another neighbor.

Marshall cranked his thermostat all the way up to 90 degrees, but the temperature reads just 67.

That's with a space heater, set at 72 degrees, four feet away.

"I've been sitting in front of this thing for two or three days," he said.

Walter Marshall in front of space heater

The 66-year old resident said he was initially reluctant to complain about the issue, because he knows there's a group of homeless people living in tents a few blocks away.

"I thought, 'What does it feel like for them? Why am I complaining? I've got a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in,'" he said as he talked with Denver7. "I was ashamed to even call you guys, but I just couldn't take anymore of this."

Some tenants said they do have heat. Others said there is little to no heat coming from their registers.

On Monday morning, the property manager told Denver7 "the boilers are working at maximum capacity."

Michelle Brown said because temperatures are extremely cold, the system won't heat up apartments to 80 degrees.

"It just won't happen," she said.

Brown added that the hallways were cold because of the fresh air ventilation system, being used for health reasons.

She said an HVAC expert came in to close the ventilation system to help warm up the hallways.

Denver7 has been called out to California Park East before. Residents were left left without hot water after the building's water heater broke on Christmas Eve.

Brown said the owners are spending money to fix issues, but with sub-zero temperatures, keeping the entire building as warm as every tenant would like is a challenge.