Building elevator out, disabled residents trapped inside

Nina Pineda has 7 On Your Side and helps residents with an out of service elevator.
Seven On Your Side
October 21, 2013 3:22:12 PM PDT
Some people who live in a Queens apartment building desperately needed a lift.

They say they were trapped indoors since the building's elevator broke down in the spring.

After months of frustration and still no fix they turned to 7 On Your Side and Nina Pineda.

Since May, Wasima Tauhid's sixth floor apartment has become a personal prison.

"I cannot go anywhere, just like house arrest," Tauhid said.

Her motorized wheelchair hasn't moved in months.

"So you haven't been outside since May?" 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda asked.

"No," Tauhid said.

Her elevator was closed for repairs last May. Residents were told it would be out for a month or so, but five months later it's still out of service.

"How is it?" Pineda asked.

"It's hard," said Abdul Rashid, a building resident.

For Abdul Rashid, who's also disabled, scaling five floors is like Everest and he can only make one step at a time.

"Every day I'm taking the stairs, I have a lot of pain on my back and my spine," Rashid said.

A few months ago, Sumatri David's husband almost died. He was unconscious after a seizure on the sixth floor. EMT's had to carry him across the roof to use another building's elevator to save his life.

"It was bad. It was crazy. What to do? What to do?" David said.

The resident calls to 311 went nowhere.

"Did you get any answers from any of your complaints?" Pineda asked.

"No," said Mohammad Zabir, a building resident.

First, 7 On Your Side visited building management.

When no one opened the door, 7 On Your Side called.

"Somebody from your management office has to get over here and get this thing inspected and running," Pineda said.

The landlord said the elevator had been working for weeks, but that they were waiting on the city to inspect it, but just 48 hours later it was back up!

"How does it feel to be outside?" Pineda asked.

"Thank you very much, thank your channel," Tauhid said.

Wasima's got the sun on her face for the first time since May.

The elevator carries on again.

On every floor in the building of mostly immigrants, gratitude was expressed for making life a bit easier.

Management acknowledges it was late with the inspection paper work to the city.

The DOB says it expedited the inspection, and that landlord has about $2,500 worth of elevator fines pending.