Family sweating out heat with no air, health department stepping in

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LAWRENCE, Ind. -- The Marion County Health Department is taking action on behalf of a woman who says the air conditioning in her apartment hasn’t been working for a week.

Temika Washington says the temperature in her unit at the Landings at 56th has topped 97 degrees since the AC unit outside her building stopped working around 2:30 a.m. last Monday. During that time, she says the heat has gone beyond uncomfortable, especially for her 18-year-old son who wears a CPAP machine for sleep apnea.

“It’s bothering him,” Washington said. “And I’m not going to jeopardize my son for no apartment. And when I asked them when they’re coming out, she was like oh, someone didn’t come out?”

“I usually watch my granddaughter,” Washington said. “She’s ten months.  I couldn’t even keep her because it’s been too hot in here for her.”

Marion County’s health code says apartments don’t have to have central air conditioning, but if it does, the air has to work properly.

Washington called the health department last Tuesday and an inspector came out to the apartment on Wednesday.

“He looked at the thermostat and made sure it was turned on and that I had it on 50,” Washington said. “And at that time, it was 92 in here.”

Health Department spokesperson Curt Brantingham said the inspector issued an emergency 24-hour compliance order after visiting the apartment. When the inspector returned last Friday, the air was still not working. At that point, the matter was forwarded to the department’s legal team for possible action in Marion County Environmental Court.

Washington says she’s thankful that the health department is taking action, but she regrets the situation has required it.

“It shouldn’t have to go that far,” Washington said. “It shouldn’t have to take the health department to come out and do something that y’all should have took care of.”

A message left at the leasing office was not returned Monday.

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