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NewsChannel 3 takes action for Norfolk man dealing with constant power outages

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Posted at 8:10 PM, Jul 30, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-30 20:10:26-04

NewsChannel 3 is taking action for a Norfolk man whose power repeatedly goes out in his apartment.

He says every time it happens, the problem either gets fixed temporarily or his complaints go unanswered.

In the past few days, the power has gone out in William Barnette's apartment at least six times.

It happens so often he's been keeping a list.

He says it's nothing new though; he's been dealing with this since he moved to Riverside Terrace Apartments two years ago.

The power outage typically affects three of his rooms, and it happens to other units, too.

One resident told us she's been dealing with the outages for six years.

“You just never know what's going to happen here from day to day,” said Barnette.

In fact, as he was telling NewsChannel 3 his story Monday morning, it happened again.

“The refrigerator is not working now. You see what I've gotta go through?” remarked Barnette.

Spoiled food and no air conditioning isn't his biggest worry though, it's his mom's oxygen machine.

Instead of the main machine, they're relying on an emergency tank and travel bottles.

“I'm afraid if I plug that in now, sometime today or tonight, the power's gonna go out,” said Barnette.

Barnette is also worried that the problem could eventually start an electrical fire.

So Saturday the power went out again. He had firefighters come take a look.

According to Lynn Underwood, a code official responsible for building safety in Norfolk, because firefighters did not consider it a life-threatening issue, the complaint was given to a city call center.

Underwood says typically a letter is then sent out to the property owner and they have five days to correct the problem.

NewsChannel 3 took action, called code officials, and got results.

Underwood said they would send someone sooner, not wanting to take chances if there could be an electrical issue.

They’ve already set up an appointment with Barnette for Tuesday morning.  Barnette says a fire marshal also stopped by Monday. We haven't heard what they found yet.

Barnette says he also was finally able to get in touch with a property manager after another outage Monday afternoon.  He says they sent a maintenance worker who made a few adjustments.

NewsChannel 3 tried repeatedly to get in touch with the property owners, Collins Enterprises based in Connecticut, but have not heard back yet.