Chicago's Buildings Department will head to court Thursday to battle the owners of a Lincoln Park high-rise apartment building that has left its tenants without heat or hot water and instructed them to use space heaters or their ovens in order to stay warm for the next two to three weeks.
Lakeview Associates, the managers of a 14-story building at 2738 N. Pine Grove Ave., issued a letter this week to its tenants reporting that the building's heat and hot water had been shut off because a blocked chimney was contributing to increasingly dangerous carbon monoxide levels, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The management company proceeded to instruct those living in the building to use space heaters, boil water on the stove and "turn your oven on to supplement heat as needed" until the building completes the "major repairs [that] are needed to restore both heat and hot water to the building," the Tribune reports. Those repairs, the company says, could take as long as three weeks.
The company has also offered those who stay in the building to skip paying February's rent and also subtract the cost of a heater from their next rent payment, so long as it's less than $100, the letter [PDF] read.
The city, however, has filed an emergency repair order Thursday morning with the hopes of taking over repairs of the building -- and billing the management company for the costs -- in order to restore heat as quickly as possible, NBC Chicago reports.
A Buildings Department spokesperson told NBC they take complaints such as these "extremely seriously, because these complaints are a matter of life safety."
Peoples Gas shut down heat services for the building on Monday after it recorded dangerous levels of carbon monoxide -- 200 parts per million. Fox Chicago reports that, although one resident said they had called the management company with reports that their carbon monoxide detector had been going off for days, no action was ever taken.
The Chicago Fire Department noted that the use of ovens for heat can create a fire hazard and expose residents to high levels of carbon dioxide, according to NBC.
Residents told CBS Chicago they have been showering at friends' homes or area gyms in order to get by, while others have temporarily moved out. While a solution in the short-term, one resident noted "when you get into regular seasonal weather like we're supposed to have, and not La Nina weather, this is not a livable situation."
"So we all sort of have to bum off our friends, and that's not a good feeling -- or we have to live like Laura Ingalls Wilder," she told CBS.