Freezing apartment owner deflects blame

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The landlord of the Summerset Village apartments says it's not his fault the residents are in the cold but he's dedicated to fixing the problem.

PG&E turned off the gas for safety reasons 18 days ago. Many of the lines are corroded, the main one needs to be replaced. The landlord, Chris Henry said, "I just apologize for the situation, we're doing the best we can."

He said it'll take a contractor and two crews a couple of weeks to repair the lines, "we didn't know it had to be done until a few days ago but he started work on it."

The city met with Henry behind closed doors. Mayor Ashley Swearengin says he's facing hundreds of code violations - 180 pages thick for things like termites and roaches, rotting wood, rats, asbestos, lead and electrical issues. The penalties, Swearengin says could add up to $250,000 and it'll all come out of Henry's pockets.

Swearengin said, "what matters most is what happens tomorrow and the next day and the next day and whether or not those words are followed with action and resource to make sure these repairs are completed."

Soda Keoboupha is counting on it. He's been a tenant for 3 years, struggling for weeks now without heat, warm water or a way to cook.

"We are human and we should not live like this, struggle, living like," Keoboupha said.

Henry said, "I didn't cause the problem, I'm doing the best I can to fix the whole gas line and make things right."

If he doesn't fix the problem in a timely manner, Mayor Swearengin said the city will step in and send Henry the bill.

Chris Henry says the repair work will start Tuesday. In the meantime, the city will be watching to make sure he keeps his word.
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