Retirement community still without gas, six weeks and counting

Senior community without gas service
Updated: Sep. 5, 2018 at 9:36 PM MST
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An isolated incident has left the community without gas for nearly six weeks. Source: Tucson...
An isolated incident has left the community without gas for nearly six weeks. Source: Tucson News Now.

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There's no solution in sight for some neighbors after a small incident at an east side retirement community.

On July 26, a work crew member was attempting to fix an electrical outage at a home in the Far Horizons East development, near Speedway and Pantano, when they broke the gas line outside the home, residents said.

An initial notice sent out by property management said the "gas line issue" in the community of 416 homes was expected to be fixed in a few days.  Now, nearly six weeks later, residents like Hank Kupper are still hoping for a hot shower.

"Can you imagine not being able to take a hot shower, shave, do your wash in hot water, not cook on the stove? I mean, it's like living in a cave," said Kupper.

The 87-year-old said he enjoys living in the community for residents, 55 and older, but the lack of communication by management has him regretting his decision to rent.

"It's the frustration of not getting good answers, they don't seem to know what they are doing," said Kupper. "I mean, how ridiculous, you'd really think they'd be putting something forward fast, by now."

Community Manager Robin Jones said they are doing everything they can to help resolve the issue. Jones said the property, owned by Cal-Am Properties, hired an outside contractor to do the initial work, that has now turned into replacing the 11,000 feet of gas line around the complex.

"This was an unexpected event created by an outside vendor," said Jones. "We have thrown every resource we have available to us at this."

Jones said as of Wednesday, about 100 homes have had the utility restored. But, that leaves more than 300 homes still waiting for gas, like Hank.

"There's no way to predict exactly when everyone will be restored and it will happen in stages as we get certain sections at the property completed, but we are certainly throwing every resource available to it," said Jones.

"It says everything and then nothing happens, it's so frustrating," said Kupper. "Why should they make it a statement, that they are going to do this and then it doesn't happen?"

Under the Arizona Mobile Home Parks Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (A.R.S. 33 Chapter 11), a landlord must "make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition" and "comply with the requirements of all applicable city, county and state codes materially affecting health and safety" (A.R.S. 33-1434).

In this case, the property has continued to provide reasonable notice of the utility interruption.  The fix, just not as quickly as some would like.

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