UPDATE: An anonymous donor paid the park's water bill after our story aired. Read the update here
Some local residents are stuck between 'a rock and a hard place' after the owner of their mobile home park files for bankruptcy, and now they claim to be left high and dry.
You won't find a drop of running water at Amber Harwood's house in a mobile home park on Old Stage Trail in Sullivan County. She told us her water was turned off about three days before Christmas, and was turned back on for the holidays, and has since been back off for several days. "I went to go take a shower to go to work. I went to go turn the water on; no water," said Harwood.
It's the same waterless situation at neighbor Maranda Fraley's home, but not for lack of payment. "It's in our rent, and we've paid our rent. We're paid up," Fraley said.
We checked the court documents and learned the owner of the mobile home park, Joseph Sakellar filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy early in December, and his attorney, Bernard Via, told us Sakellar is now not responsible for that bill. The tenants have to make other arrangements.
However, the Blountville Utility District told us, there's an outstanding bill of over $1,000 on that water hook-up, but since there's only one water main, residents can't pay their own individual tab.
"We can't get it in our individual names, or else we would," Harwood said.
Meanwhile, residents are living life without running water, filling up jugs from other places just to get by. "We have certain ones for drinking, others for flushing our toilet and brushing our teeth, and all that stuff," Harwood explained.
"We have to boil water to mop, to wash dishes, everything," said Fraley.
It's a basic utility that's turned into a luxury far out of reach, until a legal battle ends.
Sakellar's attorney told us this bankruptcy case goes to court January 9. He said it's likely the property will be foreclosed on at some point.