Suffolk residents stranded in sweltering heat after miscommunication left apartment without power for hours

Suffolk Towers.jpg
Posted at 6:08 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 18:13:18-04

SUFFOLK, Va. — Suffolk residents stranded in sweltering heat for several hours outside their apartment building voiced their outrage Tuesday.

More than 100 residents were displaced at Suffolk Tower Apartments on N. Main Street last week because of a broken pipe.

Suffolk Towers temporarily put residents up in a nearby hotel while repairs were made. Residents say they were suddenly told Tuesday they would move back home that same day, but say they were left with little answers and nowhere to go first.

Residents say they were notified Tuesday morning that the apartment building stopped paying for their hotel rooms.

Residents who had nowhere else to go say they had been stranded outside since around 11 a.m. when they were forced to check out of the temporary hotel accommodations.

They say the expectation was that the power company would turn the electricity back on, but that was far from their reality.

Instead, residents were huddled next to garbage bins near an overhang behind the building to escape the sun.

At least a dozen residents, including older residents and a couple with a toddler, were waiting outside the building Tuesday afternoon on a 90 degree day.

City of Suffolk Assistant Director for Media & Community Relations Timothy Kelley says the city notified Dominion Energy Tuesday morning that the city completed a final inspection of the building so the company could turn the power back on.

Dominion Energy spokeswoman Paula Miller says last week, a Dominion employee made an agreement with the fire marshal to not restore power until he gave the OK.

News 3 spoke to the fire marshal on scene Tuesday, who says the energy company could’ve turned the power back on with approval from the city.

The miscommunication left at least a dozen people sweating it out for most of the day.

After a long day in 90 degree weather, residents were able to get back inside the building at 4 p.m. — around five hours after they say they were left on the streets.