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TERRELL (CBSDFW.COM) – Temperatures outside are dropping to record lows and as of Wednesday evening everyone at one Terrell apartment complex is bracing for another cold night.

Residents haven’t had heat for days and they aren’t sure when they’ll have it again.

At 5:05 p.m. the average temperature in Terrell was 34-degrees and with the wind chill it felt like 22. But, tenants at the Virginia Anne Apartments can’t go inside to escape the cold.

The apartment complex has been without heat since sometime Sunday night.

Both residents and Terrell city officials say the apartment complex has been plagued with problems. The heat was also out during a November cold snap.

Last month the complex was cited for a health and safety hazard concerning raw sewage on the property.

Terrell city officials say they are frustrated and are doing everything they can to pressure the property’s out-of-state owners.

“We need for them to fix it correctly and not continue to put band aids on it,” City Manager Torry Edwards said plainly. “With these sub temperatures…these are safety concerns. So, again, we need them to fix the problem immediately.”

The Hollis family has been huddled around a small electric heater trying to keep warm — or at least warmer.

“I shouldn’t have to be upset thinking every day when I come home from work, ‘are we gonna have lights today? Are we going to have hot water? Are we going to be able to take a bath for the next week?’” Rebecca Hollis said as tears streamed down her face. “It’s been like four months.”

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Hollis is at her wit’s end. Looking at the thermostat in her apartment she said, “There’s an off, and there’s an on. We don’t really get to choose.”

Tenants can’t control the temperature. And with the system down the vents only blow cold air.

Hollis explained, “Sometimes we’ll turn it on without realizing it. We’ll be in here for an hour or two and it’ll end up getting really cold in here, because we didn’t know it [air blowing] was cold.”

Hollis says it’s bad enough that the family is forced to stay bundled in jackets and bathrobes to keep warm, but her three granddaughters can’t even escape to a warm classroom, because they are homeschooled.

As far as the apartment management, Hollis said, “They expect their rent and we expect our heat and hot water… and it doesn’t go that way. We just want heat and hot water. I’m not asking for anything that’s not owed me.”

Management was not on site when a CBS 11 News crew went looking for answers but a repairman insisted that they’re doing their best. The man who did not want to be identified said, “I’ll be out here day and night in the cold, in this weather, trying to get the heat fixed. We’re doing everything we can.”

Terrell city officials are aware of the situation and say they are using daily fines to put pressure on the complex owners. Our efforts to reach management were not successful.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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