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Frustration Grows For Upper Darby Apartment Complex Residents Without Heat

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A sign for "The Gardens" office is seen in Upper Darby. Residents say they are still without heat. A sign for "The Gardens" office is seen in Upper Darby. Residents say they are still without heat.
UPPER DARBY, Pa. -

An Upper Darby apartment complex is still without heat, past a deadline by which the owner said a broken heating system would be repaired.

At least 65 apartments at The Gardens on Radbourne Rd. in Upper Darby are still making due with space heaters provided by the complex.

But as the temperatures fall, many are getting frustrated.

On Monday- the day by which apartment management said the heat would be back on when FOX 29 visited in late November- the system was not yet ready to go.

Sharea Douglas lives here with her 26-month-old son, Nakiyah.

He was born premature and suffers from chronic lung disease and spends all day tethered to a respirator.

He's just getting over a bout with pneumonia.

"I just double up on a lot of blankets and make sure I have clothes and stuff for him to wear through the night," Douglas told FOX 29s Bruce Gordon.

Some morning cooking warmed the apartment up nicely on Monday. But mostly it's the small space heater that keeps the place livable.

When it gets cold in here, what goes through Sharea's mind?

"Everything. I've been through too much with this little boy already."

Why not just move?

It's not that easy, says Douglas. "There's not that many apartments and housing that are suitable for children or people that are disabled-- who are on ventilators."

Sharea's apartment is just across the street from the management office. The woman inside closed up as soon as Gordon arrived.

But moments later, the man in charge of the complex- "Matthew"- called to accuse us of portraying this situation in a negative light.

The man who's actually doing the work now says it will be nearly Christmas before the new heating system is ready to go- and it must first be checked out by state inspectors.

Sharea looks at her sick little boy and counts the days.

"My fear is that I can't find another place that is suitable for him and he has to go back into a nursing home."

The space heaters handed out by management add to their renters' electric bills. So "Matthew"- who says he's doing the best he can- has agreed to compensate those who contact the office, by reducing their monthly rent by the amount their electric bill has grown.

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