‘It’s getting out of hand’: Fairfax Co. apartment building without AC amid heat wave

One Eaves Fairfax Towers unit's thermostat reads 92 degrees.(Courtesy Patrycja Dziewa)

Amid dangerous heat waves, the nearly 250 people who live at Eaves Fairfax Towers in Falls Church, Virginia, have been without air conditioning for two weeks and are desperate for relief.

“No sleep for the last 15 days,” resident Sonny Singh said. “Look at the weather outside, you sweat in two seconds. Inside, it’s a box.”

Singh shared an email with WTOP from the apartment’s management team sent June 22.

“It has been brought to our attention that last night the Cooling Tower unexpectedly went down for the odd side of the building. One of the blades for the fan had broken off and caused damage. Our maintenance team is already hard at work getting a rental Cooling Tower up and running until we receive the new part,” the email read.

The management team went on to say that they’re committed to repairing the cooling tower and restoring the air conditioning as soon as possible. They also suggested residents keep the windows closed, blinds down and turn on the AC fan for additional cooling.

“We have been sleeping on the couch in the living room because we cannot access the bedroom because it’s very hot,” resident Vatsal Shah said. “This situation is really unbearable, it’s getting out of hand.”

On June 25, the apartment’s management team said it ordered the necessary parts to fix the tower and repairs are projected to begin mid-July. They also were able to implement a temporary fix that allowed half the floors that were impacted to have AC and provided portable units to those still impacted.

“I don’t feel like I should be paying for the rent when I’m not able to live normally, like a human being,” Patrycja Dziewa said. “I haven’t been able to sleep for the past two weeks. I slept maybe two hours a night.”

A portable AC units provided to those impacted by the outages.

Dziewa said the portable units don’t work properly and are unable to cool down the apartments. She said even with the unit in her apartment, it’s 92 degrees inside and there’s been no relief.

“What they do is they keep coming back and adding more tape to the portable units in the windows,” Dziewa said. “It keeps falling. I think I request maintenance six to seven times a day.”

“Unfortunately, a cooling tower that powers air conditioning for half of the Eaves Fairfax Towers building was damaged on June 22. We quickly installed portable units in all impacted apartments that day and ordered parts to make the repairs, which were received (July 8),” a representative of AvalonBay, who owns the Eaves Fairfax Towers building, told WTOP. “Our vendor will begin making repairs (Monday evening). Since the incident occurred, our team has been sending email updates almost daily. We have been in regular contact with our valued residents to try to mitigate the impacts of this inconvenience as much as possible.”

As of Tuesday morning, an AvalonBay told WTOP the repair process is complete.

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Cheyenne Corin

Cheyenne Corin joined the WTOP News team in February 2023. Prior to this role she was a Montgomery County, Maryland, bureau reporter at WDVM/DC News Now.

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