Disabled senior says Suffolk HEAP service left him without heat

Posted: Updated:
NORTHPORT -

A disabled man in Suffolk says a county service that's supposed to help keep people warm left him without any heat in his house.

On the coldest night of the season, 88-year-old Sal Guadagna is wearing a fur hat and covered in blankets inside his Northport home. Guadagna and his daughters blame Suffolk County's Home Energy Assistance Program.

"It's very cold," Guadagna says. "I have blanket. Thank God for blankets."

Even his home health aide, Patrick, bundled up in flannel pajamas to stay warm in the house.

The family says a HEAP contractor was supposed to give a complimentary inspection and cleaning of Guadagna's boiler last Friday. They he took the boiler apart, shut it down and left Guadagna in the cold.

"There's nothing wrong with the boiler to begin with," says Gina Weber, one of Guadagna's daughters. "They came in, shut down something that was working -- without any explanation other than they felt it wasn't safe."

She says she believes the situation is inhumane and possibly criminal.

For the past week, Guadagna, who was paralyzed by a stroke, has been using four space heaters to try to stay warm. His daughters have been calling HEAP to get them to repair the boiler, but they say all they've been getting is a runaround.

"He's waiting for this to be fixed and they just offered him to go to a shelter," says Andrea Kennedy, Guadagna's other daughter. "He's 88 years old. He's disabled. He's medically unable to even leave the house."

Kennedy called News 12 Long Island, and News 12 called the county executive's office to ask about the case. Within an hour, a representative from the Department of Social Services arrived at Guadagna's house to rectify the problem.

A county spokesman said the county will fix the boiler by Saturday at no charge. The county also says it's going to reach out to the Department of Consumer Affairs to investigate what went wrong.

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