Gas leak leaves Knoxville renter without heat, hot water for days

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Knoxville man wants the gas service in his apartment fixed after four days without heat and hot water.

“Being in an apartment with everything attached, anything could have happened. It could have blown up,” Sean Ley said. “Anything could have happened.”

Ley said the last couple of nights have been cold and sleepless after a gas leak occurred in his apartment at Avalon West Sunday morning. The leak started overnight when he was sleeping with his door closed.

“If I didn’t sleep with my door shut, I may have not woken up,” he said. “I could have died. I’m glad I sleep with my bedroom door shut because not as much gas got under, but it kind of scares me.”

Ley said he noticed the smell of gas in the morning and knew something was wrong.

“I was getting a headache just in the couple seconds I was in there I was getting a headache and light headed,” he said. “I could barely stand in the kitchen. I had to go outside. I had to open up all the windows because it was so bad.”

He first called his apartment complex’s maintenance staff but said help never came. Moments later, he said the fire alarms began sounding off and he called 911.

Capt. D.J. Corcoran with the Knoxville Fire Department said the best thing to do if you suspect a gas leak is call 911 first.

“If I were living inside a multiple dwelling apartment complex and I smelled gas, I would 911 and then call the maintenance people after I’ve left,” Corcoran said. “After I’ve exited the space, I’ll call 911 and then alert the apartment folks. We would rather come out and answer something minor at the time then for someone to wait and neglect an issue and have it be more catastrophic at a later time.”

Knoxville fire crews responded to the call, spotting the gas leak from behind Ley’s stove. KFD alerted Knoxville Utilities Board to turn off the gas until repairs were made.

As Ley waits for those repairs, he’s left without hot water and as the nights get colder, he cannot turn on the heat.

“I contacted the manager and said hey I have no heat, no water,” Ley said. “I need to shower, I need to eat, I need somewhere to stay that has better temperatures, because last night my thermostat got down to 54 degrees. I’m pretty much freezing and I got him numerous times since Sunday and he never answers.”

He said it has been four days without a working stove, a hot shower, and word from his apartment complex, and he said the whole ordeal is making him look elsewhere to call home.

“I’ve looked into other places to live already, because I don’t feel very safe here,” Ley said.

WATE 6 On Your Side also reached out to the Avalon West Apartments for their side of the story. They referred us to their corporate office and they have not yet returned a phone call.

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