Power Outage Leaves Seniors Sweating Overnight

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NORTH ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-In the midst of the heat wave, there was a power outage at the Homer G Phillips apartment complex for seniors in North St. Louis.  It started late Friday night and stretched through most of Saturday morning,  nearly 12 hours total.  It left residents in the dark and overheated. 

The power was back on about 11:00 a.m.  But at least two residents went to a hospital for observation and St.  Louis 4th Ward Alderman Samuel Moore says it should never have gotten to that point.

Eleanor Boyd, 64, went to a place she knew shouldn’t stay but was afraid to leave overnight. 

“I thought somebody had poured some water on me.  It was just that hot.  It was just, whew!” she said, referring to how much she was sweating. 

With the temperature rising, she said she grabbed cool rags and stayed in bed, not knowing where to go, until the sun came up.

“It was kind of smothering like,” said resident, Mildred Henderson, 87.   The heat kept her up, too. 

“We need to get this taken care of for these seniors.  Too many people’s lives are at stake, especially the disabled. They’re our seniors and we`re neglecting them like this.  This is neglect,” said Alderman Moore.  

He said about 250 seniors live at the converted Homer G Phillips hospital and there was no real evacuation plan.

“I got up, from there I washed my face with cold water, you know to try to cool yourself off.  Then, they were telling us to come down to the lower level.  That`s what I did,”' Henderson said. 

The lower level lobby was cool.  Residents also looked outside and in the hallways for cool spots.   

Dominium Properties, which manages Homer G Phillips, released statement saying immediate steps were taken to ensure the safety and well-being of all the residents.

Residents told Fox 2 that wasn’t exactly the case.  

“Nothing!   No electric, nothing.  So, what can you do?” Boyd exclaimed. 

Henderson said there was no cool place to lie down and sleep.

“No, now that was a little impossible,” she said.  

“The main problem here is that there is no backup generator,” said Moore.

He said firefighters, not the building`s staff, conducted room to room checks of  the residents;  hours after the outage began.

Moore said he was the one who called firefighters to the scene and organized deliveries of relief supplies.

“We brought in donuts.  We brought in some sandwiches, whatever we thought they needed.  Ice, definitely ice and water and some juice and stuff like and restore what they lost and just kind of stay with them and comfort them,” Moore said.

“They did all they could do.  They were very helpful.  The Red Cross, the fire department,” Henderson said. 

In the end, there were no serious illnesses reported. 

 No one from Dominium was available to comment on the back-up generator issue. 

The statement said, Dominium was "committed to providing ... a safe, enjoyable community, ensuring that we have the best interest of our residents in mind."

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