North Bay couple braves freezing temps for days without heat as gas delivery delayed

ByMichael Finney and Randall Yip KGO logo
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Lack of gas delivery, home heating blamed on worker shortage
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After five days with no heat in the North Bay's freezing temperatures, the couple called 7 On Your Side.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- If you've endured any power blackouts of late, you can relate to this one. A Santa Rosa couple lived five straight days without any heat. The family relies on propane gas to heat their home. When that ran out, they had to get creative to survive the frigid temperatures.

"How cold has it been in the North Bay? This cold," said ABC7's Cornell Bernard as he scratched off the seemingly inches-deep frost on his windshield during a report on a recent cold snap in the North Bay.

Santa Rosa residents Donald Rowberry and his wife endured not only the cold, but the loss of heat.

Their primary means to survive temperatures in the 30s had failed them.

The couple relies on propane deliveries from Amerigas. Their delivery never arrived even after informing the company their tank had completely emptied.

"The only excuse I got when I called in was a lack of drivers," said Rowberry.

The lack on gas meant either surviving on either take-out food or cooking on the barbeque.

It also meant cold showers.

Fortunately they still had their electric space heater. They could also cozy up to the fireplace.

"Yep, yeah, it was freezing, but I didn't lose any pipes or anything," said Rowberry. "I did have to buy a new electric blanket for my wife."

Donald kept things in perspective; watching the news from overseas he knew things could be much worse.

"It made me feel very much for the people in Ukraine that have nothing going on. I don't know how they do that," he said.

After five straight days without gas, he decided to call 7 On Your Side. We called Amerigas.

The company told us: "This area was hit hard by driver shortages -- made worse by COVID and flu season. We have taken immediate action to reallocate drivers."

And now, the Rowberrys have heat again.

But Donald says that won't stop him from cozying up with his wife.

Amerigas said it apologized to Donald and made a delivery the same day.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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