HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Staying warm during winter is a luxury some of us may rarely think twice about, but when you're a disabled senior on a fixed income struggling to function with a busted furnace, you're worried about even living through the winter.
That's exactly what Robert Hardy is experiencing, and it's also why he called 12.
The Henrico man says he's concerned for his life and that's no exaggeration. He says he wrote down 12 On Your Side's number months ago and decided to call now before the cold really hits. We're hoping a business will be inspired to help him.
Robert Hardy needs a new furnace and his home's electrical wiring upgraded. Right now, he uses three space heaters strategically placed throughout the house.
"I cannot run all three of them at the same time," said Hardy. "I have fuses instead of a breaker. I'm very often checking the fuses to see how warm they are. If they are hot, then I would disconnect one of the heaters to give the box time to cool off."
Hardy says his heating problems started last January when the used oil furnace he had installed back in 1999 stopped working.
"It came back on with something with a boom," said Hardy. "I smelled burnt fuel and the house started filling with smoke. I thought the house was on fire because the furnace is underneath the house."
What he does to keep heat in his home sounds like a potential death trap the way he describes it.
"I don't want to wake up in the morning or the middle of the night, and the house is on fire and I'm boxed in back here in my bedroom and I can't get out. That's my biggest fear," said Hardy. "I'm afraid that some electrical wiring in the attic or the walls are going to start to frying and start a fire."
He says he's had five surgeries in four years. He has his pride and he's practical, but this is one problem he cannot solve without help.
"I don't have any money. If that happens, that would be a God-send. The only thing I've done was work, pay bills and try to educate my children and try to do right by them and try to keep a roof over my head. I would be so thankful and so grateful," said Hardy.
If you own a business and can help, Call 12 at 345-1212. Meantime, if you need heating assistance, call your local Department of Social Services or Senior Connections at (804) 343-3000.
Organizers say it may be too late for fuel assistance but not too late for crisis assistance.
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