NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island family with a baby is running 11 space heaters to keep their home from freezing.

“We keep her bundled up,” Richard Orazem told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare.

He and his wife, Mary, and their daughter have been without heat since Tuesday — all because National Grid turned off the gas at their Kissel Avenue home after a minor leak in a pipe behind their dryer.

“He said, ‘OK, I’m going to lock your meter, I’m going to turn everything off. You need to get a master plumber in to fix this,'” Mary said.

That’s when things got complicated.

The plumber charged the family $175 to fix the leak, but National Grid won’t turn the home’s gas back on until the New York City Department of Buildings does an inspection. The DOB won’t do an inspection until the plumber gets an asbestos report, diagrams all of the gas pipes and navigates a maze of red tape.

“They blame each other. National Grid says, ‘no it’s department of buildings.’ Department of Buildings — they’re like ‘no it’s National Grid.’ Then he comes, ‘no, it’s not National Grid, it’s the plumber.’ The plumber says ‘that’s not me, it’s the paperwork I’ve got to do,'” Orazem explained.

So far, the total cost has been $2,000 and a small army of space heaters.

It’s been so bitterly cold the last couple nights, Orazem said he has to go into each of his bathrooms periodically, turn on the faucets and flush the toilets to try and keep the pipes from freezing.

A spokesperson told CBS2, “once the inspection is completed, National Grid’s turnaround time is same day or within two days maximum.”

But Orazem’s wife and baby are now staying with her sister until the heat is back on, ruining their holiday season.

“Would like to be home for the holidays, it’s kind of putting a damper on things,” Mary said.

The plumber said it could take much longer than that.

The Department of Buildings told CBS2 it will expedite the inspection once the plumber has all of the proper paperwork in place. Right now, the waiting time is about five days.


Leave a Reply