Apartments for elderly & disabled feature unreliable elevators

Elevator issues at complex

SAN ANTONIO -- People living in a downtown building say it's not safe. The apartments cater to elderly and disabled people.

Neighbors said that broken elevators are common and they can't climb the stairs in a nine-story building.

Robert Russell has experienced it.

"One time I got stuck in the elevator overnight,” he recalled. “I was scared because I didn't know what was going on."

Russell said that incident happened last November. His caregiver, Pamela McFee, reached out to KENS 5 expressing her concerns.

She's been with him for six months.

"You can count on at least three to four times a week the elevators breaking down [with] residents stuck on their floors in their wheelchairs, walkers unable to get off in case of an emergency,” McFee said. “If there were a fire, it would be a complete disaster."

KENS 5 contacted the San Antonio Fire Department for a copy of calls coming from the Victoria Plaza. Their log says that they've performed six elevators rescues in the last year.

The nine-story complex houses 185 people. The San Antonio Housing Authority admitted that one of the two elevators was broken this weekend, but said that it is now fixed.

"They're expected to go down the stairs? I'm a 44-year-old woman and I couldn't do it, myself,” McFee said. “We expect people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s to do it. It's deplorable."

During a phone call, SAHA said that it's not uncommon for the elevators to break down, and that sometimes residents will leave trash in door tracks.

SAHA sent KENS 5 a statement saying, in part:

"The safety of our residents is most important. In the event of a fire, the elevators are programmed to go to the first floor and open, and are taken out of service automatically. Fire Code dictates that elevators shall not be operational during fires, or if the fire alarm system is activated.”

During our interview with McFee and Russell, the president of resident council came out and agreed that the elevators are a problem.

"I do agree it is a hazard, trying to save somebody on one of these floors when the elevator is broken,” she said.

For now, McFee and Russell hope the elevators stay up and running.


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