Russell County

74-year-old man without heat for almost a month

RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. - A  74-year-old man has been without heat or running water for about 25 days but thanks to a concerned community member, he's out of the cold for now.

Arthur "Gabby" Lewis has spent the last two days warming up inside the Castlewood Fire and Rescue building. after spending almost a month in frigid temperatures.

"I had no heat for over 25 days," said Lewis.

We're told the temperature inside his home dropped to 22 degrees.

"It's about 40 degrees under extra covers or blankets and I run that extra heater," Lewis told us.

Lewis said he tried to have his broken oil furnace fixed at the beginning of January but the contractor was unsuccessful. He's lived in the cold ever since but that changed this week when he went to Food City.

"Our supervisor's wife was at the grocery store and she learned of a man who didn't have any heat for his home," said Jess Powers, coordinator for Russell County Emergency and Hazardous Materials.

Powers told us that supervisor contacted him and told him about Lewis' living conditions. They send a Sheriff's deputy to the home to check on Lewis.

"When we did, we found that the conditions inside the home were not liveable," said Powers.

It was so cold the pipes had burst so Lewis had no running water.

Powers said they brought Lewis to the shelter and gave him one of their emergency buckets, full of toiletries and food, to hold him over until he can go home.

Powers told us the supervisor's wife may have saved Lewis' life by letting others know about this dire situation.    

 "It's very important to check on your family, friends, and your neighbors and especially the elderly folk that live in the community," said Powers.

He told us the elderly will be more at risk this week as the temperatures stay low.

Powers said they did find a heating company to fix Lewis' furnace.  He told us Lewis should be back in his home on Thursday.    


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