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Tenants faced life-threatening conditions after negligent property manager ignored pleas during heatwave: 'This is ridiculous'

"I feel like I'm not being heard."

Ivy Crossing were without air conditioning

Photo Credit: iStock

When heatwaves take hold, air conditioning becomes vital. As global temperatures increase as a result of planet-harming pollution, having air conditioning at home will become even more essential to avoid heat-related illnesses.

But tenants in an apartment complex near Denver, Colorado, were without air conditioning as temperatures in the state approached triple digits. Despite multiple calls and visits to the residential management team, their pleas were not heard until a local news station got involved. 

Speaking to CBS News Colorado, Ivy Crossing resident Angela Jones said her air conditioning system had been broken for over a month, and no one had visited her apartment to examine the problem.

"I feel like I'm not being heard," Jones said. "And it's not just me … This is ridiculous. I'm paying for my rent. I'm paying for my air conditioning."

In extreme heat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends, among other things, staying indoors in an air-conditioned space. 

"Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat," the CDC says

Amid high temperatures, heat stroke and heat exhaustion are concerning health issues, but people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart disease or respiratory problems, are at increased risk. The CDC has said that over 600 people every year die in the United States because of extreme heat.

People in built-up urban areas will also likely experience temperatures a couple of degrees higher than those in rural settings. This is known as a heat island effect, in which concrete structures and asphalt absorb heat and emit it back into the local area. Areas with greenery and grassy spaces don't experience this as much because plants and trees capture the heat more effectively. 

For those in apartment complexes, then, the need for cooling measures is especially important.

Thankfully, after CBS Colorado aired its report on the situation at Ivy Crossing, journalist Olivia Young said Jones' air conditioning was fixed.

While air conditioning is perhaps not ideal in terms of long-term climate cooling solutions because of the power needed to run them, it is available now and can help save lives. 

Planting trees and increasing areas of green space is hugely important to urban residents to keep temperatures down, but in the longer term, being mindful of energy use and reducing pollution are among the best ways to limit global heating.

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