Families in Berkley Court now 3 days without hot water: 'How are we supposed to keep heating up pots of water to bathe?'

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Posted at 9:01 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 23:42:43-04

FRANKLIN, Va. — A propane explosion in Franklin leaves many families worried. Monday, neighbors tell us the aftermath has them dealing with unlivable conditions.

News 3 spoke with a few neighbors in the Berkley Court community, and they said they're being treated like animals. With their propane tanks turned off, they don’t have hot water, and city officials tell us property management still has not inspected the neighborhood.

Monday marks day three of the the community living without hot water.

"How are we supposed to just keep heating up pots of water to bathe?" wondered Donisha Peterson.

This comes after a propane explosion Friday night that shook the community, an area that does not have natural gas and relies solely on propane.

"Without hot water, I'm having to heat up seven, eight, maybe 10 pots of water just to put inside my tub," said Peterson.

Seventy-five units are without hot water, and people are living in 70 of them. Peterson said to make matters worse, property management has not given them an answer on when their hot water will be back.

However, they read to us a letter they got Monday.

"'The hot water in your units will be out until further notice. We're sorry for your inconvenience, and we appreciate your cooperation,'" Peterson read.

Berkeley Court letter

Just a few doors down, one woman has packed up her things and is now staying with a family friend.

"I'm just coming back after two days today just to get some groceries in the house and take some over there. It's extremely frustrating for me," said Theressa Keys.

According to City Manager Amanda Jarratt, the State Corporation Commission oversees the propane in Franklin. As of now, the SCC nor property management has come out to inspect the issue.

"The property management group has a conference call set up with the State Corporation Commission tomorrow. That's step one on laying out a plan of action - to have the inspections conducted," Jarratt said.

Jarratt said she is considering putting emergency shower units in the community to avoid a public health issue.

"I don't know to what extent that I can actually be here," said Keys.

News 3 asked Keys: If she doesn't have hot water by the end of this week, what will she do?

"I'm just going to have to shower somewhere else, at somebody else's house. I can't continue to go on like this," said Keys.

News 3 called the property manager for the community several times Monday, and she either hung up on us or refused to pick up our phone calls.

Jarratt did speak with the property manager before we spoke with her Monday night. We asked Jarratt if she can share with us any details on their behalf, and she told us they just don’t want to speak with the media.

In a statement Monday night, the Franklin City NAACP said it plans to help the victims of the explosion as they recover and attempt to rebuild. The group has started a fundraiser with a goal of $50,000 which will provided support for the victims' immediate and long-term needs.

"As a community, we have the ability to make a difference in the lives of those in need. While no amount of money can erase this tragic event, The Franklin NAACP hopes to lessen the burden of the victims in some way," the group said.

If you'd like to donate, you can do so by CashApp at $FRANKLINCITYNAACP or mailing donations to:

Franklin N.A.A.C.P #7068
P.O. Box 812
Franklin, VA 23852

We will continue to follow this story for you as it unfolds.

Related: Gas leak warning signs & safety tips following Franklin home explosion