‘Whatever I’m doing, I have to boil water’: Franklin families frustrated as property manager drags feet on restoring hot water after home explosion

no hot water
Posted at 7:20 PM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 20:20:31-04

FRANKLIN, Va. – The Berkley Court apartments property manager in Franklin has missed a 5 p.m. deadline Tuesday to come up with a plan on restoring gas and hot water to its tenants.

The city manager, who set that deadline said the Maryland-based property management company, Severn Properties, will have an update for them Wednesday morning.

During a meeting Tuesday afternoon, city staff asked for a written plan of action on when Severn will inspect the propane distribution system that led to a gas explosion at a home Friday.

The blast sent two people inside in the duplex to the hospital. The exact cause of the home explosion remains under investigation.

Since then, the propane gas to heat the water in the homes of the dozens of families who live in Berkley Court has been shut off. They’ve been showering at a family member’s house or in their bathroom sink.

Danielle Smallwood has been living at the apartment complex for seven years with her eight daughters and fiancé. She’s been boiling pots of water on her stove for the past four days.

“Whatever I’m cleaning, whatever I’m doing, I have to boil water because there’s no hot water,” said Smallwood.

Her patience is wearing thin.

“Very frustrated,” Smallwood said. “Very frustrated, very.”

While her eight girls are staying with other family members, Smallwood said she’s been showering in her bathroom sink.

“I take one pot and then another pot,” she said. “I get the soap on me and then I go back and just dry off with a towel.”

Smallwood lives just five doors down from the duplex that exploded. She was home at the time.

“I was sitting in the living room watching TV and I hear this loud boom,” she said.

As Smallwood and other families wait for the hot water to be turned back on, they also wait for answers and worry about their safety.

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

“How did it blow up over here and not there?” Smallwood said. “Something’s not right, definitely not right.”

Repeated calls to the property manager have not been returned.