MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Jennifer Rosen, who suffers multiple respiratory ailments, struggled down the stairs from her fourth-floor Miami Beach apartment and paused several times to catch her breath.
“It’s absolutely terrible. It’s unnecessary in the year 2016,” Rosen said.
In the year 2016, the elevator in the seven-story Shep Davis apartment building at 23rd Street and Collins Avenue is not working. Not the floor buttons, not the up and down buttons, nothing. The elevator has been out of service for seven days.
Residents who are able to walk have to take the stairs. Most of the tenants, however, are elderly and frail and cannot take the stairs.
Ortega Saint Yves is among them.
“It’s very difficult. I feel like a little bird trapped in a cage,” Saint Yves said, leaning on her walker in her sixth-floor apartment.
She said Miami Beach’s Fire Chief, Virgil Frrnandez, brought her some groceries.
Lazaro Caso’s mother is essentially caged, as well, six floors up.
“I live in Hialeah, and I have to come over here to help her and her neighbors out,” Caso said.
Rosalba Ortega said friends have brought her food.
“I can’t go down, I have to stay here,” Ortega said. “Tomorrow will make eight days.”
Ortega said that she was downstairs Friday when the elevator failed and Miami Beach firefighters carried her up six flights of stairs to her apartment.
Those who are able to take the stairs endure oppressively hot stairwells.
Aldo Lajes trudges up and down on two bad knees.
“This is not the first time the elevator has broken,” Lajes said.
The management company, Triumph Housing Management, based in Atlanta, sent tenants a letter apologizing for “the inconvenience” and giving them a number to call in case of “emergencies.”
Lajes said the building management has done nothing to help residents obtain food and other necessary supplies.
A spokesperson for Triumph told CBS4 News the company and an elevator firm are trying to get it running again.
The city has been citing the building over the elevator issue since Monday.
Triumph’s Paul Ponte said the motor in the 1920s-era elevator had to be rebuilt, and the lift should be running again, he said, by noon Friday.
The city says a rebuilt ancient engine won’t do.
Miami Beach spokesperson Melissa Berthier said the building’s owner has been ordered to bring the elevator completely up to modern standards. Berthier said if that isn’t done, the owners could face fines eventually reaching $10,000 a day.
The city could order the building vacated now, but has chosen not to go that route – not wanting to add to the misery already being endured by the elderly residents.