Stairs rot, family given ladder to access 2nd floor apartment
BATON ROUGE- For the past three days, the Lopez family has been using a ladder to access their second floor apartment. The stairs rotted out, and they say a maintenance worker gave them the ladder to use.
The apartment is located in the 8800 block of GSRI Avenue in Gardere.
"Very dangerous for my family," Daisy Lopez said.
Lopez and her kids learned how to balance carefully, as they made the treacherous climb to the second floor. It left people who watched the family access their apartment with incredulous expressions.
"That's a child man," Brittany Clark explained. "Ain't no child should be climbing on that to get to their house."
Lopez said apartment managers dropped off the ladder to her family. Red caution tape ropes off the remnants of the rotted out and rusty railings. We found the old stairwell in a pile next to the ladder. A maintenance worker claims it was the tenant's ladder.
"She buy own ladder for climb on stairs," a worker said in broken English.
However, our cameras captured a woman carrying the ladder to the maintenance van the worker arrived in.
That's when another woman showed up wearing the apartment's t-shirt.
"They are asking me a dozen questions, following me around with a damn camera," the woman told someone on the phone. "Don't ask me questions please. I got nothing to say," she said as the camera pointed toward her.
The dangerous situation even caught the attention of the State Fire Marshal's Office. Investigators took their own pictures to document this bizarre situation. They also checked the landlord's other properties. In the building next door, they found questionable work performed on another stairwell.
"This is unbelievable," State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said. "I see a lot of things in the lines of unsafe and this is tremendously unsafe."
Landlord Carlos Padial arrived and was disgusted. He was overheard reprimanding his workers.
Thursday night, the Lopez family stayed at a hotel.
"It's completely unacceptable," Padial said. "We don't want anyone living in any situation that isn't perfectly safe, clean and great."
The State Fire Marshal issued Padial a cease and desist order preventing any other residents from living here until the stairs are repaired. The Fire Marshal's Office will make sure the stairs are up to code before they are installed. But, there's no time frame on when the stairs will be fixed.