About 2,700 tenants in some of the District's public housing projects still were without heat or water yesterday despite efforts by city crew to repair hundreds of heating pipes that burst last week when temperatures dropped to 20 degrees and below.
By late yesterday, repairs had been made at about 800 of the 1,500 apartments without heat and hot water, according to Sidney Glee, the city's director of public housing. With temperatures expected to remain low this week, Glee said the city has distributed about 1,200 portable electric heaters to tenants without building heat and moved tenants with flooded apartments to other public housing units. Glee has warned tenants, however, not to use the heaters continuously because that could overload the housing units' electrical systems and cause power failures.
Glee said repairs were made yesterday at Arthur Capper on Capitol Hill, Greenleaf in Southwest, and Richardson, which is east of the Anacostia River. Heat also had been restored to some units at Lincoln Heights, East Capitol Dwellings, and Stoddert, all east of the Anacostia.
Ruptured pipes forced officials to turn off the water and heat at most of the units, but at one project, Glee said, flooding was caused by vandals who kicked holes in the walls of two apartments in order to steal expensive copper water pipes. "This has been a problem before, especially during the holdidays when people need money," Glee said. "Copper is really a hot item right now."
While temperatures inside their apartments were frigid, tenants' temperatures were rising yesterday. "The zoo and dog pound, they got heat," said Sandra Alexander, whose family of 10 lives in a five-bedroom apartment at East Capitol Dwellings."But we don't have heat and we've never had hot water even before the pipes broke. It just ain't right."