Roxbury apartment complex has heat, hot water fully restored

Heat and hot water has been restored for residents at one Roxbury apartment complex, six days after a reported natural gas leak forced it to be shut off.

According to Urban Edge, which owns Academy Homes, gas service for people living in the 250-unit complex has been restored by Thursday afternoon.

"We want to pay a special tribute to our residents for their patience through a difficult time... we are grateful to our contractors, National Grid and the City of Boston for working hard over the last several days, including the Christmas holiday, to resolve this situation," Urban Edge said in a statement Thursday.

Urban Edge's full statement read:

We've made tremendous progress in restoring gas service to the residents of Academy Homes. We anticipate that a majority of residents will have service restored by the end of this evening, and that service will be restored in full by early tomorrow afternoon.

We are grateful to our contractors, National Grid and the City of Boston for working hard over the Christmas holiday to resolve this situation as quickly as possible. Additionally, we're thankful for all of the elected officials, volunteers and donors who have provided support for our residents, including helping to supply food, heaters and more to them.  Urban Edge would also especially like to thank our property managers, Winn Residential, for their time and extraordinary effort in addressing this situation.

Resident Mariama Watkins has called Academy Homes her home for 18 years, and said she's never experienced anything like the gas leak that has led to no heat or hot water for five days.

"We are cold," resident Mariama Watkins said. "We are very cold. We can't do nothing. We have to be patient because it's nobody's fault."

Boston 25 News was first to report that gas service was shut off for all 11 buildings because of a reported gas leak Friday, and a spokesman said the main pipes had to be fixed.

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Dozens of plumbers and technicians worked to replace valves on stoves and furnaces at each unit, along with testing them.

"We had to purchase space heaters and bring space heaters from family members' homes," a woman named Annie, whose mother lives at the complex, said. "It's been very difficult. She's been warming up water in the microwave to bathe and do dishes."

Academy Homes managers posted notices about their efforts today, and have been updating residents, as well as providing meals and space heaters.

Much of the restoration work is being done slowly and carefully, a spokesman explained, to avoid the type of tragedy like the one during the Merrimack Valley explosions.

"We're on board with that," Annie said. "We don't want any explosions or anyone getting hurt."