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'It's been hell': Residents of southwest Denver apartment complex without working elevator for two weeks

No working elevators disrupt residents' lives at Columbine Towers
No working elevators disrupt residents' lives at Columbine Towers 02:38

Frustration is reaching a boiling point for people living at the Columbine Towers, a southwest Denver apartment complex. For two weeks now, residents have been without working elevators, leaving some with physical limitations climbing numerous flights of stairs multiple times a day.  


"It's just been going on for too long," said Marcella Atencio.  

For residents at the Columbine Towers, July 4th was supposed to be a day of barbecuing and celebration, but instead, Loretta Martinez and her neighbors gathered to commiserate.   

For two weeks now, the stairs have been the only way to or from their apartments. Martinez's is on the 13th floor. 

"It's been hell," Martinez said. 

"I have polio in my right leg, I have back problems, going down is not bad, going up with two dogs is hard," said Martinez. 

Residents of the complex tell CBS4 problems with the elevators are nothing new, but this is the first time both are out of service at the same time.  

For some across the 14-floor building, the unfortunate situation presents an inconvenience, while others have serious safety concerns.  

"I can't go anywhere. I can't even go out to buy groceries or nothing," said Sylvia Estrada.  

Since the elevators broke, Estrada hasn't left the 7th floor. She relies on a wheelchair to get around after suffering a stroke.  

"There's not just me in a wheelchair, there are other people in wheelchairs and walkers," Estrada said. "That's just not fair for everybody else." 

CBS4 reached out to the building's management company, which says it's working to fix brake issues in both elevators, but shipping delays are slowing things down. At this time, the goal is to be done with the repairs by Friday.  

In the meantime, security staff is working to help residents up and down the stairs.  

"We're on the same boat," regional manager Ella Mendez said over the phone. 

"We don't want them to feel alone in this. We're putting as much urgency on our contractor. We're trying to do our part in getting this resolved as fast as possible," said Mendez.  

Mendez said the due date for rent checks has been extended until 7 days after the elevators are repaired, but residents will pay their full rent.  

Those like Marcella Atencio hopes they fix it and fix it right, so this situation never happens again.  

"There's just too many people here in wheelchairs and walkers. This is too much," she said.  

While Denver Fire Assistant Chief Greg Pixley couldn't comment on this specific situation, he said the department does work with complexes to address safety concerns. At times, they can also issue notices to comply, but not when there's a shipping or financial issue slowing repairs down.

RELATED: Residents in apartment building in Lakewood struggle with air conditioning problems

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