Judge to D.C. landlord: Restore residents' power or go to jail

The First Street NW building has been out of power since late June. Photo: ABC7

A 4 p.m. deadline is looming for a Northwest Washington landlord to reestablish power at his apartment building that hasn't had it for weeks.

If the landlord, Abraham Joseph, doesn't do it, a judge says he'll be taken to jail.

Residents of a Northwest Washington apartment building have been without power for weeks. Because of that, residents of the small First Street Northwest building have had no lights, air conditioning or refrigeration for their food.

“We’re still right here with no air, no anything, and it's hot,” tenant Tammy Embrey said.

Despite a court order, Embrey and other residents still are in the dark and sweating out the heat and have been since the power went out June 28.

Joseph said Wednesday that he'd have power restored within 24 hours.

ABC7 asked Joseph why the problem has persisted so long. He blames the tenants.

“They blew the fuse,” Joseph said. “The fuse was blown. That's pretty easy to replace.”

Joseph said he called in an electrician to fix the problem. But when ABC7 tried to ask the man identified as an electrician about the repairs, he took off.

Asked why the electrician was so desperate to elude us, Joseph said, “Why didn't you stop him? Why didn't you stop him?”

The problem is more extensive than a blown fuse. The wiring is so bad, Pepco won’t restore power.

“They told me to have the work done by tomorrow, and it's going to be done by tomorrow,” Joseph said.

The tenants are holding on to their court order and are confident if they are still in the dark tomorrow, the landlord will find out what it is like to suffer.

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