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Harlem boiler fix delayed by expanded repairs

Harlem apartment building residents still without heat or hot water
Harlem apartment building residents still without heat or hot water 02:11

NEW YORK - A group of Harlem neighbors expected to feel safe and warm in their beds Tuesday night, yet they continue to live without heat or hot water more than a month after their boiler broke.

The contractors installing the new boiler in the buildings along West 118th Street now say it will be Friday before the heat and hot water are back up and running, as the tenants brace for yet another dip in temperatures. Work is underway despite further delays; the city-contracted crew continues to arrive with new parts.

Tenant Association President Cleveland Manley anxiously watched their progress Tuesday, after spending another night sleeping in dangerous conditions.

"Still using my oven, still boiling water," said Manley. "And it gets colder ... I've got to keep it on much longer now."

"We want to make it right. It has to be right," said John Fay, the crew supervisor with Approved Oil Co.

Fay explained the expanded plan goes well beyond the water heater itself.

"It's going to come out really nice," Fay said, showing the boiler room. "We brought it out further. We made the blocks better. It's going to be much better."

The new information comes as a relief for Manley, who feels not only left in the cold by his own church family, but also left in the dark. Property owner Canaan Baptist Church senior pastor Rev. Dr. Thomas Johnson, Sr. spoke about the problems during service on Sunday, saying leadership made the decision Friday to remove the previous management company.

"The congregation may have been implicated, but the congregation hasn't done a single thing to create the problems that we have," Johnson said during his address, which concluded, "I'm not going to give a news report. The only people I felt like I needed to report it to was you."

"He made an announcement in the church, but he didn't make an announcement to the tenants," Manley pointed out. "We live here. Tell us what's going on."

Manley maintains his membership at the church and does not want to burn a bridge with the pastor. He just hopes hot water will soon be flowing underneath it.

Manley and his neighbors heard from the new management company on Tuesday. They plan to meet very soon.

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