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ST. AMANT, LA (WAFB) -
A family with three young children has been living without electricity or hot water for weeks. They are renting an apartment at Rosewood Plantation in St. Amant, LA.
Jerry and Kimberly Allen's lives have been anything but easy. Jerry, the sole provider of the family, lost his job last month. Not being able to afford rent, Kimberly said the Rosewood Plantation Apartments was their last resort. They pay $165 a week, which includes utilities, but they said they haven't had the electricity, hot water or cable they were promised for at least three weeks.
"The only electric source we have is the electric cords ran from his plantation. That gives us one light and a space heater we just got," Allen said.
Their front porch has become an outdoor kitchen. An extension cord serves as an outlet for an electric cooker. A propane burner powers a small frying pan. A fire pit is their source of warmth on a cool night.
"We sit out here by the fire place and huddle up and try to get warm as we can before we go inside and I put kids to bed," Allen said.
On the property, extension cords are strung from one building to the next. The couple said watching their children live that way is heartbreaking.
"We tell them we'll be out of here as soon as we can, and that we are doing the best we can for them," Allen said.
Two other tenants admitted they, too, are living under those conditions.
The landlord, Paul Seawell gave 9News a few reasons why he has not paid his utility bills.
"The electricity has been out for three weeks. The reason the utilities were not put on when they were cut off is because we're doing solar panels and I told them it was construction," Seawell said.
Several minutes later Seawell admitted he could not afford his electric bill.
"The Entergy bill was too great to carry for the four or five people here," Seawell said.
Seawell told 9News power will be restored in late November, after solar panels are installed.
Meanwhile, he said he has no problem with his tenants getting it from his plantation house even if it's a fire hazard.
The landlord said some of his tenants haven't paid rent in weeks. That includes the Allen's who say they stopped paying when their utilities stopped working.
Seawell said he lets them stay in the apartments because he can't bear to see them living on the streets.
"I can't not do what God tells me to do," Seawell explained.
The Allen's said they don't mind paying rent, as long as they get what they pay for.
"I just can't live like this anymore," Allen said.
Seawell has had a change of heart. The Allen's told 9News Seawell allowed them to move into a cottage on the property that has both electricity and hot water until their unit is reconnected.
UPDATE: The State Fire Marshal's Office acted immediately. The owner of the property was allowing his tenants to use extension cords to tap into power at his house after electricity was cut off to their apartments. Fire investigators wen to the property on Friday and removed all of the extension cords and issued a cease and desist order to the owner.
The tenants have until 8 p.m. Friday to vacate the two buildings.