MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Residents of a high-rise apartment building in Miami are worried about health and safety issues because they say only partial service has been restored to one elevator and they had been without service to both of their elevator for a week.
”It’s very hard, especially to older people living here,” said Armando Garces, who lives on the eighth floor of the Civic Towers Apartments at 1855 NW 15th Avenue, a HUD Section 8 rental assistance building with nearly 200 units.READ MORE: Miami-Dade Police Officer Not Injured After Coming Under Fire
Garces told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “I have problems in my knee. I have problems going to the eighth floor. For a week we have had no elevator service in the two elevators. And it has been hard.”
A CBS4 viewer released video to CBS4 showing one man struggling to scale the stairs of the building this past weekend while carrying a duffel bag and showing one of the calls for medical service that Miami Fire Rescue paramedics responded to at the 18-story building. The video shows them walking down the stairs after one call.
A city of Miami spokesman says he was told that one elevator is “fully functioning” right now and that management has been ordered to have an elevator technician on site until the second elevator is working. That could take a few days as they are waiting for parts.
But residents said only partial service had been restored to one elevator. That elevator, they said, can only be accessed by people living on the 11th to 18th floors and only goes to the first floor if people send it there.
Darianne Diago, who lives on the seventh floor with her grandparents, said, “The elevator works from the 11th floor to the 18th floor so people living on the 10th to the first floor, how are they going to get in the elevator? If you don’t know anyone from the 11th to 18th floors how are you going to get in?”
“This is horrible,” she said. “You have people who are in wheelchairs stuck in their apartments because the elevator is not working. My 67-year-old grandmother is a cancer survivor. If I have to bring her down how am I going to bring her downstairs. People are stranded in their apartments. We need help. This is frustrating. I need somebody to come out and give us solutions. We are not animals who live here. We are humans. Hundreds of people are affected by this.”
Lidia Parranko, who lives on the 11th floor, said, “We need a lot of help. We need a lot of help. We have a lot of problems in this building.”READ MORE: Missing North Miami Beach Teen Jeimy Henrriquez Has Been Found
CBS4 followed Amado Hernandez as he tried to get on the elevator on the first floor. He waited more than five minutes and was not able to get in the one elevator that was working with what the residents said was partial service. It did not open on the first floor, so he walked down a hallway and went outside the building to another entrance that allowed him to scale the stairs and go up to the third floor where his mother lives.
Hernandez said, “It has been hard, really hard. She has asthma and several conditions affecting her health.”
CBS4 spoke with his mother Niurka Cabrera.
”How hard has it been?” she was asked.
”It has been very hard,” she said. “Very hard. I have problems with my heart. I am diabetic. I have high blood pressure. I am very bad.”
While speaking with residents, a manager told D’Oench that he and his photographer had to leave the property. He was given a number to call at the Civic Towers office. And when he did, there was a tape-recorded message saying, “Sorry, the user of this mailbox can’t accept more messages.”
Residents at the Civic Towers Apartments have had their share of problems. Last August, they filed complaints with the city that there were problems with scattered garbage, mold, structural damage and other maintenance problems.MORE NEWS: Officials: Man On American Airlines Flight From Guatemala Hitched Ride To Miami Inside Plane's Landing Gear
Other residents say they will never forget what happened in September of 2017 when they lost power and had structural damage as a result of Hurricane Irma. Some residents were then forced to sleep in their cars after that storm.