City of Anderson vacates apartment complex with multiple gas leaks

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Anderson officials says it’s unsafe to live there. Now, many residents are moving out for good after multiple gas leaks forced the evacuation of an Anderson apartment complex.

Residents were told Wednesday night they needed to vacate their homes after multiple gas leaks were detected at the Arbor Village apartment complex.

There are more than 130 people living in the five building complex and many of them are being forced to stay in a shelter or with family or friends until the problem is fixed.

This all started when gas leaks were detected in three buildings Tuesday evening after residents complained of smelling gas.

Gas company workers inspected the buildings and the gas was shut off. The property owner passed out space heaters to residents in the affected units.

Crews returned on Wednesday to inspect the other buildings and they discovered even more leaks.

The city’s electrical inspector said the wiring in the buildings would not be able to handle the space heaters and fires could break out. That’s why the city decided to vacate the complex until it is safe to live in.

Many residents like Autumn Elsworth are thankful a potential disaster was avoided, but they are frustrated this is all happening just weeks before Christmas.

“I feel like I worked so hard. I just graduated and just started a career and then to have things taken away that I didn’t do anything wrong. I’ve been here almost two years, paid my rent on time and to be told we have to leave is difficult,” said Elsworth.

Anderson leaders believe a potential serious situation was avoided.

“I’m truly sorry for their inconvenience, but I think the public safety issue outweighs any other item that could come up at this point,” said Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith.

A local church is housing 29 tenants from the apartments. The city said all tenants have a place to live temporarily. But some residents may have to look for more long-term housing.

Property owner Tim Stanley, who lives out of state, had crews at the complex Thursday estimating the work that will need to be done.

Stanley said the gas company will not turn service back on until all the leaks are fixed. FOX59 is told that could take three weeks to complete.