Leaky historic Oak Ridge apartment causes resident concerns

Investigations

A disabled woman in Oak Ridge says she’s waited for more than a month for her leaky apartment to be repaired by management. 

Apartment management says they hired an outside contractor, but one of the men got hurt and repairs were delayed. 

In the meantime, WATE 6 On Your Side consumer investigator reporter Don Dare found out, the apartment still leaks. 

Donna Dukes has moved food and supplies from her kitchen into her living room. The reason — just above her kitchen window — water has been steadily dripping from the leaky ceiling in her apartment.  

It started on Jan. 5, Dukes says, meaning the leak has gone unrepaired for over a month.  

Dukes moved to the historic Rolling Hills Apartment complex in November. Her building was constructed during the 1940’s Manhattan Project. 

When she first moved in, Dukes said the apartment looked really nice, “they had it really pretty and white.”

It was January 5th, Donna says when the ceiling sprung a leak and she called the office, on January 7th is when maintenance arrived.

“They said, ‘oh, yea, you do have a leak. We’ll have to let it dry out for four or five days.'” 

Donna say over the last six weeks, the ceiling has continued to leak on and off.

The heavy reainfall over the last month has more than likely contributed to the continued leak, which then molded the ceiling above her kitchen sink. 

“That is mold up on the ceiling,” Dukes says as she pointed to her kitchen ceiling. 

There’s a build up of mold in the ceiling, she says mold spores run along the front windows to her apartment.

“I’ve had nose bleeds, very itchy eyes, headaches, I’m sleeping a lot,” Dukes says. 

With everything going on, she began making notes in her calendar, keeping detailed records of her calls. The delay in getting something done is frustrating. 

“When I came home on the 5th about 9:45, the ceiling was leaking. I was told by the after-hours maintenance, he couldn’t come by on Saturday, he’d come by on Monday. Maintenance stopped by on the seventh. They came in, they looked at it and said they’d have to get some other contractor to get this fixed.  They couldn’t do the maintenance. So on the 31st, I went down to the office. They tell me, ‘we were just talking about that a couple of days ago, we need to get that scheduled.'”

Dukes holds her calendar, showing her notes to WATE 6 On Your Side. 

“On February 13th, I get a call from maintenance personnel. They, oh, well, the contractors cannot come out today because they’ve had one of their co-workers fall and had to take them to the emergency room.” 

Seeking some answers for Donna, we visited the apartment complex office.

Management said repairs to her apartment are scheduled by an outside contractor. Then, last month, management said that maintenance found a clogged roof drain to the building and water had found it’s way into Dukes’ apartment. We were told the issue will be repaired.

Apartment resident Michael Hamer lives above Donna’s apartment — his kitchen has unresolved problems as well.

“It started leaking at first after I reported it in November,” Michael Hamer said. “And it started molding here in December. They said they were going to do something about it. They’ve done a few inspections.  They did some inspections in November.”

Hamer said he was told the paint was damaged and not to worry. 

“They haven’t come up here,” Hamer said, adding that he is concerned and would like to see action taken. “I haven’t been on their butt about it, but I’d like to get it done because now it’s posing a health issue.”

Dukes is seeing some action being taken, over a month after her initial service request: She said a crew came today to start painting — she trusts they’ll also stop the leak. 

“Something needs to be done. I want this to be fixed.”

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