UPDATE, 6 P.M.: Pate told the Thread the repair went as planned and the building is cooling down again.

Workers are racing to repair the air-conditioning unit at a 13-story apartment complex for senior citizens in Tuscaloosa Thursday.

Stan Pate, the businessman who owns Clara Verner Apartments on Old Hackberry Lane off Jack Warner Parkway, confirmed to the Thread that the chiller pump cooling the building failed late Wednesday night, cutting off air conditioning inside.

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Pate said repairing the pump is a simple enough process, but will require specific bearings and gaskets. Because of supply chain issues, the nearest parts required to make the fix are in Tennessee, Pate said.

Pate said a courier is heading with the parts to Cullman, Alabama Thursday morning, where another driver will meet them and take the precious cargo back to Tuscaloosa.

Pate said he was confident the repair would be complete and the air conditioning would be functioning again at or before 5 p.m.

He also said two new replacement pumps have been ordered and will be kept as backups should the part ever fail again.

Pate said he has already provided several fans to residents inside the building and that 50 more would be purchased and provided Thursday afternoon. Pate also said municipal fire code dictates that the windows of the 13-story building cannot open, which is exacerbating the problem.

Nick Lolley, the director of the Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management Agency, said he and others are having preliminary conversations about moving some of the elderly residents at Clara Verner Apartments to a cooler space -- especially those who live on higher floors where the temperature may be rising faster.

Lolley said the EMA just wants to have a plan detailing what vehicles would be required and where affected residents would be taken if necessary -- there are no current plans to move residents as of noon Thursday.

UPDATE, 6 P.M.: Pate told the Thread the repair went as planned and the building is cooling down again.

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