Austin Code Department

Jose Perez with their children, Marina and Jose Marcelo, in their apartment in North Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Jose Pérez and his family were afraid of their stove.

It caught on fire when they tried to cook, so the family bought prepared food. They had other problems in their apartment, too: The air conditioning went out for a week one August, there was no hot water for a month, and mold grew in the walls. But the stove is what made Mariana Pérez scream one day, when she saw her husband get electrocuted by some faulty wiring.