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Squirrels blamed for 3-day power outage at Richmond’s Fay Towers

Posted at 6:45 PM, Apr 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-22 08:39:46-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Power was restored to Fay Towers, which houses low income senior citizens, at 4:50 p.m. on Tuesday. Prior to that, residents endured three days without electricity.

"I lost a lot of food," said Charlene Scott. "I love where I live, but now, when this situation came in without no electricity, and no food. And I don't have any. It's crazy I'm a COPD patient. I can't deal with a whole lot of heat."

The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority said the outage happened started Sunday with a damaged electrical line.

"It was actually a family of squirrels that chewed and got through the plastic," said Carol Jones Gilbert, acting COO, RRHA.

The actions of those squirrels triggered an emergency generator to power lights in the common areas, hallways and elevators. The end result – residents, including those with medical or emergency needs, were left in the dark.

"We've had our security and our management folks checking on our residents with oxygen,” said Gilbert. “We did provide some receptacles in the common areas where people can come in and plug any medical equipment or charge their phones."

CBS 6 also questioned the RRHA about a report of bedbugs inside the building.

"We have done a 100 percent inspection of this building and we're working with Orkin to treat those units that are impacted," said Gilbert. "We just really have to stay on top of it and encourage residents to report when they know that there are issues so that we can get in and take care of it as soon as possible."

And while the RRHA said it was addressing every complaint, Scott just wanted to be comfortable in her apartment.

"I'm just waiting for the moment for my lights to come on. And, my air to come on so, I can breathe again," said Scott.

The electrical lines belong to the RRHA, so, it was up to the housing authority to make the repairs -- not Dominion Virginia Power.

The RRHA was also working with local groups to provide food, ice and water to residents. They encouraged all residents to get renter's insurance to cover them in this type of situation. Residents with immediate needs can contact the RRHA at 804-780-8700.