DOUGLAS — Residents of a building in the Prairie Shores Apartment complex are being evacuated after a busted heating system led to unsafe conditions in the building.
Residents at 2801 S. King Dr. were notified Thursday night management was "enforcing a mandatory evacuation" of the building per a city ordinance.
On Monday night, a component of the heating system in the building failed, and when maintenance crews tried to fix the problem, about five pipes in the building burst, according to the company who owns the building, Draper and Kramer.
It was bad news for the building with 302 occupied apartments, as temperatures reached subzero levels earlier this week.
By Friday evening, crews were still working to fix the problem, but city inspectors found the temperature in the building at night had fallen to about 55 degrees, said Julie Johnson, vice president of D.K. Living for Draper and Kramer.
A city ordinance requires landlords to keep the temperature of their buildings no lower than 66 degrees at night from September through June.
Since Tuesday, management had been offering complimentary rooms for residents at the nearby Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, 2233 S. King Dr., but on Thursday evening, residents received notices they would have to leave the building until heat was restored.
Regular shuttle buses arrived at the building Friday evening to take residents to the hotel. Leslie Herbert, who has lived at 2801 S. King Dr. since August said the whole thing was a big "inconvenience."
"It's terrible. If it was the summertime, and I was on vacation, I'd love every minute of it," he said. "Right now, I'm too busy and it's too cold to be dealing with this."
But Herbert said he appreciated how the building was handling a bad situation.
"To me they handled it well because you have slumlords that will try to give you space heaters and all that," he said. "They did better than that."
Deborah Holmes, who has lived at the building for eight years, said she returned to the building Friday night to grab some extra clothes for the weekend. Holmes said she had opted to stay at the Hyatt since Tuesday.
"We're not getting any definite answers," she said. "It's just a mess...I'm tired of this."
Holmes said it was the first time something like this had happened at the building. She said the hotel was nice, but she is more than ready for the problem to be fixed.
"I want to come home," Holmes said with an exasperated laugh. "I want to sleep in my own bed."
Johnson said crews have been working to fix the problem "around the clock," and they hope to fully restore the heat by Saturday night. However, she said residents should plan on being able to return to the building on Sunday.
Until then, the building has booked about 300 rooms at the Hyatt, Johnson said, and residents can get free meal vouchers at the front desk.