Five days and counting: Local apartment residents endure power outage

COPPERAS COVE, Texas (KWTX) Rotting food, no air conditioning and unused medical supplies are among the problems faced by some apartment residents in Copperas Cove who have been without power since storms last Wednesday damaged a power pole and the connection that serves the entire complex.
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Ishmael Hakeem is one of them.

(Photo by Chelsea Edwards)

He is trying to keep his cool after his unit lost power during last Wednesday night’s storms.

"We can either run the AC or run the breathing machine," says Hakeem.

He has five children who were on an Easter break Monday and a wife on dialysis whose condition has worsened since the power went out.

"She was having breathing issues and blood started coming out of her nose because of the heat," he says.

He admits to being one of the lucky few who could afford to buy a generator, but residents of more than 40 other apartments are doing without.

"All our money is paid on rent and our groceries that we bought to last through the month,” says Linda Stiles.

After she opened the door of her refrigerator, the stench of spoiled milk and produce lingered in the air for several minutes.

“Now we find out that everything's ruined from the power not being on."

The Five Hills Apartments on Highway 190 in Copperas Cove went dark when the power pole support the line that serves the complex was split during the storm.

Oncor has made repairs, but says major damage to the lines and other equipment has to be paid for by the complex.

Residents say they have been getting mixed messages about when repairs would be made or who is responsible for them.

Hakeem says he spoke to the apartment manager a few days ago.

"He said he was waiting on the city, but then I found out later on, that it wasn't the city,” he says.

“It was him that they were waiting on, and when I went to talk to him, he just disappeared- nobody could find him."

KWTX caught up the apartment manager who said it was hard to find a repair company during the Easter holiday.

He works out of the Austin area and says he wasn’t aware of the extent of the damage at first, but he’s hired a repair company and parts are being shipped in from Midland.

Cove officials confirmed that he's working with the city so that once repairs are made, he can get permits fast-tracked for power to be restored.

Meanwhile, residents say they have reached out for assistance.

Red Cross confirmed that it has been contacted about food and temporary shelter, but the city has to request it.

"We can't get anyone to bring us food or to help us get a place to stay overnight," says Stiles.

City officials say residents have running water, gas and outside temperatures pose no health threats.

They were also assured that the apartment manager would take care of any other needs of renters.

"As far as I know, he has not addressed anybody’s needs,” says Stiles wiping away tears.

“He hasn’t addressed any of mine or none of my neighbors, and we have not seen him since Saturday," she adds.

Meanwhile just like the temperatures, frustrations are rising as people wait for the necessary repairs that could be made by Wednesday, weather permitting.

Some residents say they are on some kind of assistance and fixed incomes, and it can cost around fifty bucks a day to rent and run a generator.

They say they not only want power back up as soon as possible, but are also asking the apartment management for refunds for money and food they've lost.