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Elevator trouble at retirement community worries family of tenants

1 month 2 weeks 5 days ago Wednesday, April 12 2023 Apr 12, 2023 April 12, 2023 6:13 PM April 12, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

PORT ALLEN - An elevator has been broken at a retirement community in Port Allen for over two weeks. The daughter of a tenant reached out to 2 On Your Side, concerned about the people who are unable to use the stairs in case of an emergency.

Leona Howard says her mom, Bessie, uses a walker to get around her apartment building.

"Mom's a spiffy 92-year-old, almost 93 in October, she's very independent," Howard said.

Howard says her mom's independence hit a snag when the elevator at Allen Court Apartments retirement community went out on March 27. With the laundry and mail rooms on the first floor, Bessie needs assistance.

"You know you can't use a walker on the staircase," Howard said.

Last weekend, Howard says emergency services were called and a tenant had to be carried down the stairs in a stretcher. Others living on the second floor are wheelchair-bound or use a walker to navigate.

"How do they get out if they're in wheelchairs on the second floor or mom with a walker on the second floor?" 

Management says they are working to get the elevator repaired after the building was struck by lightning on March 27th. The elevator will need new parts and that could take some time. Management says it's waiting to receive quotes from vendors to make the repairs.

"Sometimes that could take four to six weeks, but that's an awful thing, and what if there's an emergency, a fire, anything?" asked Howard.

She's looking for help for her mother and the other tenants living on the second floor. While Howard's mom has family that lives nearby, she's hoping to get the elevator fixed as quickly as possible.

"When something like this happens you want to put a rush on it, that's what I'm thinking," 

The State Fire Marshal's Office visited the site on Tuesday to investigate what is called an impairment notification which alerts them when a life safety system, like a fire alarm, has trouble associated with it. The responding deputy found that the fire alarm required attention and placed the facility on fire watch until the system is repaired. The fire marshal says the manager is working to get this done and have until May 11 to do so. That's when the fire marshal will check back if they have not been informed before that of the status change.

The fire marshal says as long as the stairwell is accessible and useable, that's all that is required. While not ideal, the fire marshal suggests that residents with mobility challenges stay with family or friends until the elevator repairs are made.

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