Aqua Vista residents forced to go back home despite continued AC issues

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Three days after residents marched on the management office at Aqua Vista Apartments, a contractor showed up to start repairs on 27 units without air conditioning.

On Tuesday, Codes and Compliance officials issued 27 citations for each unit in need of repairs.

Eternity Barnes, who organized the march, says fixing the air conditioning is a step in the right direction.  However, her thoughts have quickly changed.

She says she thought the apartment was taking the correct steps to keep her family safe, but she says she was wrong. 

Gabrielle Carson is another resident who is angry and worried for his children. “I am stressed out. I wanted to go to the hospital last night because I was so stressed, but I can’t leave my babies.”

Carson is a mother of four, with twins on the way. She says her energy she says is spent on trying to make sure her home is safe for her kids. 

10 On Your Side learned the air conditioning units stopped working at the Aqua Vista apartments.

The company put this family and others up in a hotel.

However, on Friday Newport News fire vans arrived at the hotel to bring the families back to their apartments.

Residents say they are returning too early because the AC is not working properly. Residents say the repairs aren’t adequate, and they stopped by the apartments yesterday and it’s not cool enough for their children. 

10 On Your Side tried again to speak with an employee from the complex, however she said, “no comment.”

According to a spokeswoman with the City of Newport News, all units have working portable AC units.

There were originally circuit issues, but we’re told everything is up to code. 

10 On Your Side followed the vans to the apartments in Newport News to see the reaction from residents returning home.

“It’s hot in there,” said one resident. “That portable is not kicking out nothing, that portable isn’t kicking out nothing, it’s still 80 degrees in there. It went from 84 degrees down to 80 degrees, that’s ain’t nothing. I don’t know what we are going to do.”

Another woman told 10 On Your Side her room is at 70 degrees but there’s no portable unit in her son’s room. She says he has asthma. 

10 On Your Side reached out to the parent company of Aqua Vista apartments.

The executive vice president says every unit is up to code and all of the units are 74 degrees or cooler and being monitored.

She says some units will get a more permanent solution next week and management has been in close contact with codes and compliance. 

10 On Your Side also interviewed state Delegate Marcia Price, who was touring the apartments

“I have learned that just because something is legally right does not mean its morally right,” said Price.  “The residents have valid concerns.” 

She spent time touring the apartments, but 10 On Your Side wasn’t allowed on the property.

“I was under the impression that the law was that the rooms had to be cooled to 80 degrees. I can say with 100 percent certainty that I have seen rooms that are not being cooled to 80 degrees,” Price said. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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