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Elevator Outage Leaves Denver Apartment Building Residents 'Stuck'

DENVER (CBS4) - Residents of a North Capitol Hill apartment building say with their single elevator out of service for nearly six weeks, they feel as if they are "stuck" in their Denver apartments with few options to leave the building.

Stuck Elevator RAW
(credit: CBS)

"I've been stuck in my apartment 50 days," said Deb Powers Kness, 64, who has lived at the Drehmoor Apartments, 215 East 19th Avenue, for five years. Like many of the low income and elderly residents in the three story building, Kness, who suffers from several medical conditions, primarily gets around in a motorized wheelchair. She would load it in the building's elevator to leave the building. She is unable to walk up and down the building's stairs.

But in April, building managers announced they were upgrading the elevator and it would be temporarily out of service.

Stuck Elevator RAW2
(credit: CBS)

As of this week, the elevator has been offline for nearly six weeks -- well beyond what was originally planned.

Kness said she is not alone; other elderly and disabled residents with wheelchairs also can't manage the stairs so have been essentially marooned in their apartments the entire time.

"A lot of us are just stuck in our rooms," she said.

Stuck Elevator RAW3
(credit: CBS)

Arlester Henry said he has "bad knees" and is "waiting on it to get fixed."
Another resident, Joe Burden, said he has a replacement hip so getting up and down the stairs of the nearly 100 year old building has been difficult during the elevator outage.

Emily Bush, Community Manager for Rose Communities, which manages the building, told CBS4 the elevator should have been back up and running by now but "the additional delay was caused by incorrect parts being delivered. Replacement parts have been secured and extra crews have been brought in by the vendor to complete the project as soon as possible."

Bush went on to apologize to residents for the inconvenience but noted that management has been assisting residents by helping with food deliveries, laundry assistance and other services.

Christine Baumann with the Department of Housing and Urban Development told CBS4 she wasn't aware of the issue until contacted by the news station. She said she believed the elevator would be up and running within a matter of days and that "Denver Fire Department has provided physical assistance for residents with mobility concerns during the repair."

"This," said Powers Kness,"is getting old."

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