Hundreds without power in Northwest D.C. housing co-op

Crews are working to fix the power outage in D.C.'s Sursum Corda Cooperative. (WJLA)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – Hundreds of people in Northwest D.C.’s Sursum Corda Cooperative who lost power Tuesday were forced to fight through 90-degree temperatures and humidity.

ABC 7 News reached out to the power company; Pepco says the broken power line is on private property, so its hands are tied. There is an end in sight for residents, but it is days away.

As the temperature pushed past 90 degrees Wednesday, residents of Sursum Corda, like Darlene Brown, got more and more frustrated.

“You can’t even breathe in there,” Brown said. “You can’t sleep it’s so uncomfortable.”

On Tuesday afternoon, underground cables failed, knocking out power to hundreds of residents who live in the private cooperative of nearly 200 units.

“Boom! The manhole cover jumped ‘bout 6 feet high,” said resident Calvin Perry.

Claudette Campbell, another resident, said, “We have senior citizens. We have people that’s on machines. We need some serious help as soon as possible.”

Residents with whom ABC 7 News spoke say without power their food is going bad, and they have nowhere to turn.

“Some people are on [a] month-to-month income,” Perry said. “They can’t afford to lose their last bit of food. How are they going to eat this week?”

Lonnie Duren, the chairman of the cooperative, says city officials are trying to open a nearby rec center to provide a cool place for residents to go.

“We are addressing the issues,” Duren said. “Some people are going to be frustrated. That’s part of life.”

The contractor fixing the damage says power probably won’t be back on until at least early Friday morning.

“So, what we supposed to do from now to Friday, with no food, no air, nothing?” Brown said.

Residents hope the air conditioning is back on by the weekend, when temperatures are expected to soar into the 90s.

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