'Sitting On A Time Bomb': Cambridge Housing Authority Residents Sound Alarms About Lack Of AC

Some Cambridge Housing Authority residents say the temperature in their apartments is in the 80s and 90s and the air conditioning will not be turned on until June 15. WBZ-TV's Louisa Moller reports.

Video Transcript

- See this. Now at 5:30, residents of this Cambridge apartment building say their heat is still on during this heat wave. And when they ask why, they say they're being told that's the law. As WBZ's Louisa Moller shows us, some apartments have temperatures in the high 80s.

JAMES FERRIABOUGH: I got two vent, and it's still hot.

LOUISA MOLLER: James Ferriabough says his apartment inside this Cambridge public housing building on [? Eyrie ?] Street is unbearably hot. [? My room is ?] 98, I think.

- We're sitting on a time bomb here.

LOUISA MOLLER: And this woman who did not want to show her face says she's complained about the temperature in her unit for over a month. Now she says the issue has reached a boiling point.

- It's an oven. It's 86.5 degrees, according to their thermometer.

LOUISA MOLLER: Who has responded, and what--

- Only the CHA management office saying that it is beyond their capabilities, that there is a state law that says that the heat must stay on until the 15th of June.

LOUISA MOLLER: Several other tenants who didn't want to go on camera for fear of losing their housing complained about the temperature. One woman sat under a tree on her walker outside the building because she said it was more comfortable there.

We're here because a concerned tenant told us that there's no air conditioning on in any of the apartment buildings, and the heat is still on.

- That is correct.

LOUISA MOLLER: In an email, Cambridge Housing Authority says otherwise, claiming the heat is off in the building, but that Massachusetts code requires the option of turning it on through June 15. After the 15th, the AC is switched on, which can take up to a few days. Quote, the CHA would strongly support a change to building code that would allow some discretion to building owners.

How warm is your apartment?

- Warm. And down here.

LOUISA MOLLER: According to the state's website, the temperature should not exceed 78 degrees during the heating season.

Yeah, so it is cold in here.

The AC is on in the lobby and in some common areas, but James says, that's not nearly enough relief.

JAMES FERRIABOUGH: Well, you have seniors in here that can't stand the heat. And they all will come downstairs and sit in our air conditioned area.

- No, there's no AC.

LOUISA MOLLER: In Cambridge, Louisa Moller, WBZ News.