By Ralph Iannotti

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Allegheny County Health Department is inspecting an apartment building in the city’s Knoxville section today after tenants reported the heat had been turned off inside.

Tom Smithson, an Army veteran, with an 8-year-old stepdaughter who has special needs, says he’s ready to move out of his second flood apartment in the 100 block of Bausman Street.

He says he’s moving as soon as he can find a suitable place for himself and his family.

KDKA’s Brenda Waters Reports:

But with the arrival of cold weather, things just got worse for Smithson. That’s because he says the landlady turned off the heat in the building.

For that reason the Allegheny County Health Department has stepped in. They are sending someone to inspect the building this morning.

“I turned the oven on for a while until it warmed up in the apartment, and then shut the door. I’m going to have to do that every couple of hours,” Smithson said.

In Erica Nelson’s downstairs apartment, there’s also a chill in the air.

“As of yesterday, the night before maybe, [the heat] was turned off. I have no idea why,” Nelson said.

But he building’s landlady, Lois Cogley, has a different take.

She said, to her knowledge, the heat was still on in the building. Cogley also says her property taxes and insurance bills are all paid up.

However, she claims the tenants in her building are not up-to-date in their rent.

As for the Health Department inspection, Cogley says she happy to have inspectors checking out the building.

As for the tenants, they say Cogley has not been completely honest with them; and on Monday, they claim, there was another example of that.

“The landlady called and said an insurance person was going to come in and do a yearly inspection. When they were leaving, I said to one of the guys, ‘Are you here to buy the building?’ And, he said yes. The landlord was going to collect the rent, and not tell us anything until afterwards,” Smithson said.

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