MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Hundreds in one downtown Memphis apartment complex woke up shivering cold Wednesday morning.
"Our heat is off! I live in a high-rise downtown and I never really thought this would be an issue,” said resident Erin Corbett.
She snapped a photo of her thermostat and sent it to Local 24 News. Seen in the photo, the heat was cranked up to 80+ degrees. If you look a little closer, the actual room temperature is sitting at 45 degrees.
"There are high ceilings, big windows, and a lot of people in one building sharing equipment,” Corbett said.
With freezing temperatures in the Mid-South, hypothermia is a huge concern.
Dr. Dale Criner is an Emergency Room physician at Saint Francis Hospital. He told Local 24 News access to heat in weather like this is a life or death situation.
Dr. Criner said, "In temperatures like we're experiencing right now, literally within five to ten minutes, if not adequately prepared and protected with multiple layers," hypothermia symptoms can start to kick in.
He said, "People start out with just some shivering. They're cold, their hands are shivering, their body is shivering and their teeth are chattering. As it progresses, they can become confused and have trouble thinking."
These are among many other symptoms, he said.
Erin, concerned for her safety and the safety of her cat, said she reached out hoping 10 Main would fix the problem.
Many others did the same. They all received messages from the building’s instant messaging system.
In a memo sent to residents, the apartment building promised to send a contractor out to assess the problem.
In the meantime, they asked residents to "Please bundle up and stay warm. We apologize for any inconvenience, and appreciate your patience."
On February 22nd, Number 10 Main Street Apartments released this statement:
"The Managers of Number 10 Main Apartments have viewed the report given by Local 24 News on February 17, 2021, regarding the loss of heat for the building during the recent weather cold-weather crisis in the greater Memphis metropolitan area and the state of Tennessee. The Local 24 News reporter did reach out to our main number and left a message for a comment on the report.
The management of Number 10 Main understands the frustrations and inconvenience of living in a cold apartment, especially during these extreme weather conditions. Number 10 Main's heat is provided by a boiler system which cannot properly function if the city's water system is offline or has low pressure. Our onsite team reached out to Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) and our heating contractor as soon as the situation arose so that we could fix our building's heating situation. We shared an update regarding the building's heat with our residents on February 16 at 8.21 pm. On February 17 at 3.37 pm, we provided an additional update from our contractor and learned that the main issue with the heating system was that our boilers would not function due to the low water pressure. The low water pressure continues to be due to frozen and burst water pipes at the city municipal level. The combined cold weather and low water pressure continue to create problems for other buildings like 10 Main and for residents and businesses throughout the greater Memphis area.
While this is a situation we cannot proactively remedy without MLGW restoring a higher level of water service and higher pressure, we are actively working to source space heaters to assist residents during this cold weather. We have also offered to pay for hotel stays within the city limits (up to $123 per night per the US Federal Guidelines) until MLGW can get the city's water main lines repaired.
Though the heating problems stem from the current weather crisis and are mostly out of our control, we have apologized to our residents for the inconvenience this has caused and closely monitor the status updates with MLGW to remedy the situation in our building. We will continue to keep residents updated through messages on our website at number10main.com and direct messages. We are hopeful that water pressure will be restored by Tuesday or Wednesday, and the building's heating system will be back online immediately afterward."