Nearly 200 residents at Mirabella apartment complex without water

PHOENIX - Nearly 200 residents at the Mirabella Apartment complex in Phoenix have been without water for days.

That is until late Thursday night when Phoenix Fire Department spokesperson Benjamin Santillan told ABC15 the city agreed to turn the water back on for a week.

The water company says the complex near the I-17 and Camelback owes them about $50,000 dollars, and until the bill is paid, the residents are stuck in the middle.

"I think this is crazy. Everyone is very emotional, we don't know when this will end or if we'll have to go without water every day," said Crystal Medina who called ABC15 for help.

When our crews arrived they found some fed up residents standing outside. They've been dealing with no water for two days.

"It's terrible. I have to go to work, but we can't shower, we can't use the toilets, we can't even clean," said new resident Ira Savely.

Savely and his roommate just moved into the apartment days ago, unaware they were moving into a hornet's nest ready to explode.

When Savely turned on his faucet nothing came out.  

"Aggravation, I can't clean, I can't keep anything going. I'm lost," said a frustrated Savely.

Residents have paid their rent bill, but apparently the owner has not been paying his utility bills.

Maintenance crews tell ABC15 the city sent several notices that the water would be shut off, but they say the owner, who lives in California, instructed them to not to pay the bill leaving hundreds without running water.

Maintenance manager Raul Aguilar says he was instructed to do the unthinkable and steal water from the city.

"This morning they told me to cut the locks and I said no, that's illegal and they fired me," explained Aguilar.

"I told him not to do it because he could get arrested. We want water legally.  We pay rent and should have running things," said an emotional Diana Gomez who witnessed the interaction.

City officials tell ABC15 they've been trying to reach apartment management for six months and that they have not paid their bills since May.

Officials said they tried several methods to get in touch with managers including phone calls, mail, physically visiting the complex and posting signs on the property about the turnoff.

Residents say they never saw those signs because management would tear them down before they got a chance to see it.

"The manager told us they don't allow postings on the doors and would take them down before most of us got to see them," confirmed Savely.

City officials say those notices included information for the tenants on how to receive assistance, but other than that, the city has no obligation to provide water service for those people, even though they were paying on time.

When Phoenix police and fire heard what was happening, they also went to Mirabella to try and get answers.

Residents told officers the water was shut off two days ago, but after city offices closed, apartment workers were being ordered to cut the locks so they would have water at night.

On Thursday night, fire crews had delivered water for residents to drink and then came the big announcement.

Firefighters worked a deal with the city to get the water turned back on.

On Friday, workers from the Phoenix's Neighborhood Service's department will be at the complex to tell residents what their options are after that.

ABC15 is working to track down the owner of the building to find out exactly what went wrong.

Stay with abc15.com for updates.

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