NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Public housing residents at the Patterson Houses in the Bronx were forced to get their water from a fire hydrant Sunday night.
They were left without running water because of problems with pumps in eight buildings.
Hundreds of people lined up Sunday at the hydrant near East 143rd Street in the Mott Haven section. Video shared on Facebook shows residents, including seniors and parents with their children, filling up buckets and other containers, and then hauling the water back to their apartments.
Residents took matters into their own hands and called the fire department to open the hydrant.
“There’s no reason why our people here at Patterson Houses don’t have water and no reason why they have to come to the fire hydrant to get water. It’s demoralizing,” she said. “This is happening over, and over and over again. Two weeks – I was just here, they were talking about the pump that was broken. Just two weeks ago, we had the same issue.”
One woman told Duddridge she had a 1-month-old baby upstairs.
“I had to spend my last on fresh gallons of water, because I don’t trust this pump. I have a newborn upstairs. No water, couldn’t give my kids a bath, nothing,” she said.
“My wife just had surgery on Thursday. She had half of her kidney removed. She had to be out here with my daughter getting buckets of water, because there was nobody to help her,” a man named Albert said.
“You can’t flush the toilet. People live there,” said Florence Fleet, who’s in a wheelchair. “You couldn’t cook nothing.”
A NYCHA spokesperson told CBS2, “Staff have been working on repairing the house pumps and are in the process of setting up temporary pumps now. This is yet another example of the problems we face given our aging infrastructure, but we must do better providing basic services despite these challenges.”
But residents said the water only lasts for a few minutes, and the pumps aren’t strong enough to get pressure to the top floors.
“First, it came on at 10-o-clock at night for 10 minutes. Everybody was ecstatic for 10 minutes. We figured, OK we can put the kids to sleep, forget it, because we’re going to have hot water,” one woman said. “When I went to take the kids a bath last night, again there was no hot water – there was no water.”
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz held a rally outside the management office Monday to call for answers and a solution.
“We’re here today because we want answers. We’re here today to stand with the tenants here at Patterson Houses,” he said.
Residents said this is the third time in a month they’ve been without water.