Oak Park Apartments resident David Silva says a gas leak inside his apartment Wednesday evening could have potentially killed dozens of people if an explosion would have occurred.
Silva says Oak Park management, which is owned by Eugene Burger Management Corporation in Sacramento, hired a third-party company to remove an existing washer/dryer unit and install a new unit with a gas-operated clothes dryer.
Silva, who has lived in the 480-unit complex since September 2013, was away on a hunting vacation and his girlfriend, Erin Genest, was watching over his apartment.
At about 5:10 p.m. Wednesday she arrived at the apartment and smelled the strong odor of gas emitting throughout the space. At 5:23 p.m. she called 911 and within a minute the Turlock Fire Department arrived at the apartment and was quickly able to discover the source of the leak and shut off the gas.
Oak Park Apartment Manager Jackie Selby explained what occurred.
“We hired a vendor to install the gas dryer and evidently they didn’t tighten the connection enough,” she said.
However, Silva and Genest feel that Selby and management are simply pointing fingers and failing to acknowledge the seriousness of the gas leak. In a heavily populated apartment complex, it might be deemed essential to install a catalytic bead sensor to prevent anything like this from happening again. In this instance, the individuals were lucky the leak was caught in time.
Selby did not respond to calls to the complex’s emergency contact information.
In a letter to Eugene Burger Management Corporation, Silva wrote, “The firemen were struggling trying to contact someone, they finally got a hold of the security department but that was somewhat of a dead end, so they kept trying to contact someone in a management position within the complex [with no luck]. [A] neighbor walked over to where the manager lives, told her what happened, the manager wrote her phone number down on a piece of paper, and shut the door. The kind neighbor walked over to a fireman and handed him the piece of paper with her number on it. As a manager of an apartment complex, if there was a gas leak, which is extremely serious, wouldn’t you want to be front and center with what’s going on? Instead of writing your number on a piece of paper and going on with your evening? To me this is extremely selfish, careless, and irresponsible and with how we have been treated while living here – I guess this is what we should expect.”
Selby says there were no messages or missed calls from anyone.
“I gave my number to the neighbor, there wasn’t anything else I could do. I physically couldn’t shut off the gas,” said Selby. “Unfortunately we sometimes have residents who overreact. The situation was solved, we contacted the vendor and told them about it but we can’t seem to make (Silva) happy.”
Silva was also displeased with Oak Park management because he says when he spoke with them this morning they brought up the fact his girlfriend was watching his apartment and they had a cat, which was evidently not approved in the lease.
“What does a cat have anything to do with a gas leak?” asked Silva. “What if the 8 apartments in the building and the 8 apartments in the building next to it exploded. Would they be talking about a cat then?”
“We want an apology and we want management to take ownership of this instead of pointing fingers,” said Silva. “They hired the people to install the dryer. I am absolutely appalled, shocked, dismayed, and horrified over how Erin and I have been treated. If she had lit a candle or if she was a smoker, which she’s not, everyone in that building would have died.”
Silva recently purchased a house and had already given his 30-day notice to Oak Park management. He had planned on moving at the end of October, but will now be moving this weekend.
He is demanding that he wants his rent prorated, he does not want to be charged for the washer/dryer unit and he wants his deposit back as well and he is also very annoyed he had to deal with this incident on his vacation.
He also noted he will never refer anyone to Oak Park Apartments.
“We will do everything we can to accommodate Mr. Silva,” said Selby.