Broken elevators cause big problem for residents

Broken elevators at the Wesley Manor apartment complex in Campbell
May 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
More than 100 people, some in wheelchairs, are feeling trapped in their own homes after a fire knocked out their elevators three days ago. They are in a 12-story building that houses a lot of seniors and disabled people. Both elevators have been out since Friday and people there say they just can't get in and out.

This all started after a small fire broke out on the sixth floor. No one was hurt in that incident, but the damage from that fire has made living in the apartment very difficult, to say the least.

To the people who live in Campbell's Wesley Manor, the two elevators are their lifeline, especially for twin sisters Joy DeMarchi and Jackie Eastlick. They can only get around in their wheelchairs.

"We've been trapped here on the third floor where we are here. We can't take the stairs. We can't take the elevator," said building resident Joy DeMarchi.

The elevators have been out of order since Friday, when a fire triggered the sprinklers and knocked out the elevator's electrical system. Most of the tenants of the 12-story building have been relying on the stairs, but even that's been difficult for them. Wesley Manor is Section 8 housing whose tenants are either seniors or physically disabled.

"I can make it up and down the stairs, however, I'm very tired. I'm exhausted. My back and my legs are killing me, but I have to get my seeing eye dog out five times a day," said building resident Susan Brueggeman.

The building manager says fixing the elevators is top priority. She says the elevator company has been by three times since Friday, but won't be able to make repairs until everything dries out.

Until then, tenants like Ann Kuta are doing what they can to help. She's 73 years old. Climbing up and down the stairs isn't easy for her either, but she says many people in the building don't have family nearby who can help.

"I'm taking up food if they need it. I went up to the 11th floor today. The other lady who has MS, I went up to help her," said Kuta.

It is unclear how soon those elevators can be fixed, but the elevator company will be back to reassess the situation on Tuesday morning.


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