Six units didn’t meet the cooling requirement at The Ralston on Tuesday, but those units were getting equipped with portable units until repairs are completed to the air conditioning system at 211 12th St., a Columbus official said.
“We definitely feel that the heat issue has diminished,” Inspections and Code director John Hudgison said after a walk through the building.
The owner, PF Ralston LLC, survived a second deadline at the 103-year-old building to address cooling issues after the Thursday death of 60-year-old man whose room temperature topped 98.6 degrees. Portable cooling equipment operates in the lobby, work continues to repair the air conditioning system and new window units were expected to take care of cooling in the facility with 269 units.
On Monday, officials said there were about 50 vacancies in the building, and 20 of those have operating air conditioning systems. While city officials were inspecting the building, Hudgison said the staff was getting portable units for rooms with failed air conditioning.
Hudgison said the cooling equipment in the lobby will remain at the building until Thursday, when a local company arrives to repair the system in that area. “The concern was the tenants were too hot in there,” Hudgison said. “If it’s too hot in the units, they could at least come down to the lobby and get a little air.”
Other opportunities for residents to get cool are on the mezzanine at the building owned by Flemington, N.J.-based PF Ralston LLC.
Some residents are pleased with the progress. Leroy Seldon, 59, said his air is working on the fifth floor. “You win a war with numbers,” he said. “You can’t win with holding your tongue.”
Like any issue in a unit, Seldon said you have to follow the chain of command to get some things done. “I’m staying cool,” he said. “I have to get with them though. It’s always a way.”
A resident known as “Miss Lacy” said the air condition was operating at 70 degrees by 4 p.m. Tuesday in her unit. “I’m very thankful of it,” she said. “I’m thankful for getting this done.”
Lacy said the owner of the facility needs to take a trip to Columbus and see the building that was purchased for the residents.
Hudgison said the city also issued permits to Columbus Fire & Safety for work on the sprinkler and fire alarm system for which a separate deadline is imposed. The city was working with the owner to fix violations with the fire alarm before the air conditioning system became a priority.
“I don’t want them to rush to put in the fire system and have the same problems,” he said. “The concern here is they were not the previous company that worked on this. They are coming in, and this is their first shot at this.”
He is awaiting a timeline on the project that will outline work on each floor in the 10-story building.