Chicago tenant diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning now living without heat

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A Chicago woman became mysteriously ill after moving into a South Side apartment building last fall, and the solution left her without any heat as she headed into the winter.

Now, the city is now going after her landlord.

FOX 32: So somebody tried to fix it?

“Yah, they tried to fix it, two months after the fact!” said Dorothy Thomas.

Thomas moved into the South Side apartment building last August. Right from the start, she noticed she was feeling down and her eyes were bloodshot every morning.

“For weeks, months! I thought maybe I was depressed, but it turns out it was the carbon, that was making me feel, I had to fight every morning to wake up!” Thomas said.

Doctors diagnosed her with carbon monoxide poisoning. The gas company confirmed there was a leak, and cut off her gas.

“This was the natural gas line right here, that they disconnected,” Thomas said.

Thomas says she's been coping so far this winter with gas heat or her gas stove. She says that despite repeated complaints to the building's managers, her furnace has never been repaired. But her complaints to the city resulted in citations for the carbon monoxide, and a lack of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

On Tuesday, the building's owners, Chicago Property Portfolio LLC, were ordered to make repairs soon.

“The owners will make sure that the carbon monoxide detectors are in within two days, and they'll start making repairs to any furnaces within three days, so they'll be operational,” said Steven McKenzie of the Assistant Corporation counsel.

There's an unusual twist to this story. If Dorothy Thomas had threatened to withhold her rent, her threat might have been ignored. She pays just over a hundred dollars a month. The rest of her rent, about $750 each month, is subsidized by the Chicago Housing Authority.

The CHA told FOX 32 that as of four days ago, those  payments to the landlord have been suspended and Thomas is getting help finding another home.

The attorney representing the building's owner declined comment after the hearing Tuesday. The case will be back in court on January 26 for an update on the building repairs.

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