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Heat inspectors make sure residents are warm

January 24, 2013 3:25:28 AM PST
Heat inspectors in the City of Newark are responding to complaints about buildings with no heat.

"My bigger concern is my kids. Me, I don't care. It's my kids," said Cindy Fields, a tenant.

On this brutally cold night Cindy Fields and her six children were forced to stay bundled up inside their Newark home.

"I put my jacket on and I use a small heater and I stay under my covers. I have three covers," said Emizhane Crooks, tenant's daughter.

"I pay $1,400 a month! Without assistance and you tell me I can't get heat! No, that's not right. That's not fair," Fields said.

When temperatures dipped dangerously low Cindy called Newark's code enforcement hotline after not getting a response from the landlord.

The team responded to nearly 80 calls like that one Wednesday alone.

A city ordinance says homes must stay at 68 degrees between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and 65 degrees from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. during these winter months.

"51 degrees. It's supposed to be maintained at 68," said Valerie Thomas, an inspector, "It seems as though the radiators are defective. We'll send him a notice to make the repairs and we're going to put him in court for failing to provide heat."

Fines can hit more than $1,000 per day until heat is fully restored.

Eyewitness News talked to the building's superintendent who promised he'll get this fixed.

Cindy says in the meantime her family will stay at her mother's home.

"They came out quick they came fast. Thank you I appreciate it," Fields said.

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