Dispute over gas leak leaves tenants fuming in Camden

CAMDEN, N.J. - July 22, 2013

Dozens of residents at the Crestbury Apartments have been without natural gas for nearly a week. Their stoves don't work, and they're fed up.

"They told me the reason is we had a major gas leak in the back," said Sharae Williams.

"We have to feed our families," said Sephra Smith. "It's ridiculous. Everybody is pointing the finger. The city is pointing the finger at PSE&G. PSE&G is pointing the finger at the Crestbury Apartments. We need to feed our children."

PSE&G tells Action News its Streets Department conducted a check of the apartment complex last week and detected elevated levels of gas in an apartment.

An inspection revealed other leaks.

The company says the gas lines are owned by the City of Camden and until the city or the owner of the complex repair the gas lines, the gas will remain shut off.

A spokesperson for Camden says the city doesn't own the gas lines, but it was his understanding the repairs were being made.

"I hope somebody hears our cries for help," said Tamiya Harrison.

Residents say with no gas they're forced to eat out and spend what little money they have.

On Tuesday, one day after our report first aired, Jack Nusbaum, vice president of property management for Tryko Partners, LLC released the following statement:

Last week during a safety inspection, PSE&G detected elevated gas levels in one of the homes at Crestbury Apartments. As is standard procedure, the gas lines to that section of the property were immediately shut off as a safety precaution. While the initial issue was quickly identified and repaired, the City of Camden and the management of Crestbury Apartments are in the process of inspecting the property's entire natural gas infrastructure.

Unfortunately, a process of this magnitude takes time. We are checking individual apartments as well as thousands of feet of gas line on the property. We have been working with the City around the clock to expedite the work involved and minimize disruption to our residents. We have completed inspections of all 160 apartments in the 20 buildings impacted by this event, and we will be installing all new gas lines to each building.

Crestbury Apartments is dedicated to ensuring the safety of all tenants at our property. We understand that many residents are inconvenienced by not having cooking gas during this process. Through the Mayor's office, arrangements have been made for the Salvation Army to be onsite today, providing food to the impacted tenants. Beginning tomorrow, Crestbury staff will provide hot dinners for the individuals and families who were impacted.

As always, quality of life is our top priority. We commend the City of Camden for supporting us and working with us toward this goal. Since taking over ownership and management of Crestbury Apartments six months ago, we have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the Mayor and Council as we work to enhance our property.

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