Emotions and temperatures run high at Olathe apartment complex with broken air conditioning

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OLATHE, Kan. -- Dozens of families are frustrated at an apartment complex in Olathe, where they’ve been enduring this blistering heat wave without air conditioning since Tuesday night.

Complex managers at Torries Chase Apartments near W. 139th Street and S. Mur-Len Road said residents in more than 30 units will have to endure sweltering conditions for another few days before their AC is fixed.

It’s a brutal scenario residents called “unacceptable” and “dangerous” as temperatures continue to hover in the high 90s to low 100s over the next few days.

“I’m getting ready to cry,” said Karrah, a single mother who lives with her two young children at the complex. “I’m feeling really emotional, abused, taken advantage of, the whole nine yards. It’s ridiculous.”

Emotions and temperatures were running high Thursday, as families struggled to deal with the rising heat inside their apartments for the second full day.

“My son was throwing up,” said one mother who asked to hide her identity. “I had to put him in a cool bath and it was over 95 degrees in my house! I mean you can die in this type of heat. It is so hot.”

Renters said their air conditioning went out Tuesday night and they’ve since complained to the complex managers and city inspector.

“[It feels] as if you’re in the kitchen with the oven on,” Karrah said. “It’s hot. It’s really hot!”

Complex managers declined an on-camera interview with FOX 4 News, but claim vandals are responsible for the sudden outage. They said someone trespassed onto their property, climbed onto every roof and stabbed holes in the AC condensers.

Managers also told FOX 4 they chose not to file a police report because they would prefer to handle it themselves by putting their full focus on making the repairs.

They ordered new AC units and licensed contractors will begin fixing the damage on Friday, but the project is expected to take several days, according to complex managers.

Residents said that timeline – in this smothering heat – sounds unbearable.

“Is it going to be safe?” wondered Karrah. “Do these people have children? Are there kids okay? How many elderly people live on the property? How many people are on oxygen? Like, how many people need their air? It’s crazy!”

Complex managers apologized to residents with a notice that read:

“Torries Apartment management are using every effort to repair the air conditioning units in your building. We will be working into the evening and into tomorrow to resolve this issue. We appreciate your patience during this effort. We apologize for the inconvenience this matter has caused.”

The managers also said they handed out six temporary window units on Thursday to “high-priority” residents, including the elderly and sick. However, that still leaves dozens of families without AC.

Complex managers told FOX 4 they offered affected residents a per diem discount on their rent, but every resident our news crew talked with said they had never heard of such an offer.

“I don’t even know how to put it into words how upset I am with it,” said one mother. “I’ve never even lived in a place that would handle a situation this badly.”

A representative with the city of Olathe said their city inspector is aware of the issue and is monitoring the complex’s progress to fix the problem.

The city released this statement:

"City of Olathe staff have been in contact with the owner of Torries Chase apartments throughout the day in response to the vandalism of air conditioning units that left a number of tenants without air conditioning. The property owner is taking immediate and long-term steps to address the issue:

• Contractors have begun installing temporary window units to all affected apartments.
• A licensed contractor has been hired and will begin work at 6 a.m. Friday to replace the rooftop connecting air conditioning units.

A City Building Inspector will receive regular status updates from the construction manager until the issue is fully resolved.

The Olathe Fire Department reminds all Olathe residents that the Olathe Public Library serves as a cooling center during excessive heat. Cooling centers are open during normal library hours which can be found at www.olathelibrary.org."