Seniors Trapped In Their Own Building By Faulty Elevator

Brighton BeachHurricane Irene (2011)

Trapped inside with no way to get out. It's how some elderly tenants describe living in an apartment building in Brighton Beach, all because of a faulty elevator and bad ramp.

"I have a wheelchair and I go down sometimes. I then can't get back up. It gets stuck and I have to wait until they fix it," long time resident Sidney Gralitzer said.

The only way wheelchair bound residents can get outside is to take the elevator to the basement floor, then go through a narrow cement ramp with too many cracks to count.

"I need to have a way to go outside a little bit," long time resident Sara Lekht said. "I need the fresh air."

Michael Leon is the building superintendent and says someone tampered with the elevator after Hurricane Irene. It then stopped working at the basement level and left people in wheelchairs without an exit.

"It's a key problem at this moment," Leon says. "They can go up, but just can't come down."

Leon tells us there are other building violations that are more important to deal with for residents. But people living in the building say it's all excuses.

"It's not a top priority," Leon says. "Until all the violations are met. When they are met, they (management) will bring that key that allows the elevator to come to the basement."

In the meantime, residents who rely on the elevator and cracked ramp have become prisoners in their own homes without a release date.

PIX11 will keep searching for answers and demand management provides an elevator key to fix the problem.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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