No boiler, no problem: Downtown apartments can remain open

A downtown apartment building that was at risk of being closed down by city of Dayton inspectors will remain open even though its heating system still isn’t working.

Today, Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Skelton said he’s satisified with the progress being made to keep the residents of the Newcom Building apartments warm and safe during the cold weather.

The building’s ownership has purchased small heating units for all of the occupied apartments and is working toward replacing the boiler, which had to be shut down because it was releasing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, officials said.

Dayton police earlier this month stopped by the Newcom apartments on North Main Street downtown. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF (Staff Writer)

“From information this court has received, I am satisfied that the building has a substantial likelihood that the boiler problem is going to be fixed within relatively short period of time, such that there will be no interruption to the tenants,” Judge Skelton said.

RELATED: Residents won’t have to vacate downtown Dayton apartments

Earlier this month, the city of Dayton issued notices to residents of the Newcom Building, located at 255 N. Main St., saying they would have to vacate if the building’s defective heating system wasn’t repaired or replaced.

Fire inspectors found that the boiler was exposing residents to unsafe levels of carbon monoxide. The boiler was shut down, but city code requires apartments to have a working heating system.

Howard Heck, the building’s owner, won a temporary restraining order against the city that allowed his tenants to remain in their apartments if he purchased infrared heaters that kept the temperatures in the units at safe levels.

Judge Skelton said he and city staff have inspected the apartments and are satisfied that the temperatures inside do not pose a health or safety risk to residents.

RELATED: Dayton issues vacate order for downtown apartment building

Originally, Skelton asked Heck to provide proof by today that he has financing in place to repair or replace the boiler.

But Skelton said he’s comfortable not setting a hard deadline for replacing the boiler because he believes progress is being made to achieving that goal and inspectors will continue to monitor temperatures in the apartments.

“It appears that everything is going in the correct direction and it looks like the place will be able to be kept open, which is what the court wants to do,” he said.

Heck is planning to use some of his savings to pay to replace the boiler, which likely will happen in a couple of weeks, Laurence Lasky, Heck’s attorney, said.

“This is one of those cases where everybody wins,” Lasky said. “People get a nice place to live, the boiler will be replaced momentarily and I think we’ve added value to real estate in the city of Dayton.”

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