Berkley hot water heaters converted to electric

Published 8:00 pm Sunday, August 28, 2022

All of the hot water heaters present at the Berkley Court Apartment Complex have been converted from propane to electric, according to Franklin City Manager Amanda C. Jarratt. The measure came in the wake of an April 15 explosion that a preliminary investigation indicated was propane in nature.

Amanda C. Jarratt

VCDC Chief Operating Officer Chris Sterling confirmed that the investigation into the cause of the blast is still ongoing.

On the night of April 15, there was an explosion in a duplex on Cameron Street that resulted in the death of Michael Wiggins and critical injuries to a female victim.
A joint May 4 press release began by stating that VCDC, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization that has assisted in the investment of capital into Berkley Court Apartments for renovation several years ago, was announcing, along with the city, that both short- and long-term solutions were already underway to help residents that had been without access to hot water.

The long-term solution of converting the gas hot water heaters to electric-powered hot water tanks in each apartment was completed several weeks ago, Jarratt stated.

“No one is being impacted by the explosion at this time,” she said in a Monday, Aug. 15, interview. “We are thrilled that the owner was able to work with several contractors and have the conversion completed as soon as possible. While the delay was frustrating, it was critical that it be done in a safe manner. As far as I know, there is no use of propane at the site any longer.”

Sterling indicated that the main update he could provide on the investigation into the explosion’s cause was simply that it continues.

“There’s been field work done some time back, and there’s some lab work being done now,” he said. “We’re not really in control of any of that, it’s just, as we understand it, continuing. So there probably won’t be any word on cause or anything for some time. That process continues.

“But from the standpoint of what was impacting the residents that remained on-site at the property,” he added, “we worked with the city and contractors to restore hot water and better respond to other things that are impacting the lives of folks out there.”