The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Harlem Building Still Without Cooking Gas After Failed Con Ed Inspection

By Gustavo Solis | October 20, 2014 2:10pm

HARLEM — An 85-unit affordable housing building that had its gas shut off more than two weeks ago failed a Con Ed inspection last week, according to the utility's report — and the building management company then blamed residents.

Con Edison shut off the fuel at 263 W. 153rd St. on Oct. 2 after a gas leakThe energy company returned to the building on Oct. 15, but determined that repairs were not made.

The building, “failed the integrity test" a Con Edison inspector wrote in his report because, "the leak was never actually repaired.”

The building's management company, Winn Residential, however, claimed in a letter posted throughout the building that the inspection failed because “some of the residents had opened their gas valves which affected the pressure inside the system.”

Without cooking gas for the last two weeks, residents have been spending money on takeout or buying small electric stoves to prepare their food.

“It affects me terribly,” said Alvorn Elkins. “Don’t you think three weeks is a long time without cooking gas?”

Elkins, 74, who has Type 2 diabetes and a congestive heart condition, said she is on a strict diet and said not being able to cook is a significant challenge.

“It’s real frustrating, you don’t know how much we’re spending on food,” said resident Shayla Hall. “Everybody is mad. A lot of people here have kids, they can’t feed their kids.”

Shutting off the gas has not affected the electricity or the hot water, she added.

Winn Residential started providing meals to seniors on Oct. 4 and it began giving one daily meal to each resident Oct. 11.

“We empathize with all of our residents, and we are considering various forms of redress in response to the issue, including a credit on a future rent bill,” said a statement from the Harlem Congregation for Community Improvement, which owns the building. “We will continue to closely monitor the situation, until Con Edison turns the gas back on.”

While many residents are frustrated that the gas has not been turned back on, some do not mind the wait as long as it ensures there won’t be another gas leak.

“It’s a little inconvenient but safety is more important,” said Daisey Martinez in Spanish. “I don’t want what happened to that building in East Harlem to happen here. I prefer them to take longer and make sure it is safe.”