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Investigation: Equipment Problems Reported Before Deadly Bronx Elevator Accident

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Disturbing details are being revealed following a deadly elevator accident in the Bronx. It turns out, problems with the equipment had been reported, but action was not taken in time.

Olegario Pabon, 84, walked slowly using a cane and had little of hope of saving himself as he stepped inside his Bronx building's elevator.

It was the day before this past Christmas and the fall sent him to the hospital where he died.

"He came in and he tripped and he fell in the back here," Ray Orta, a friend of the victim, told CBS2's Dave Carlin.

Orta said the elevator in the Boston Road Plaza was known as a malfunctioning nightmare and he blames New York City's Housing Authority for Pabon's death.

The city's own investigation found fault with New York City Housing Authority for doing too little, too late.

It found that about two hours before Pabon got on that elevator, another tenant called NYCHA reporting a "very dangerous" condition in the same elevator.

The complaint said the elevator was "going up and down" with the "door open."

"It was jumping, now it's okay, but before, forget it, all the time it was no good," tenant Sonia Almodova said.

The report states NYCHA should have immediately dispatched a mechanic to take the elevator out of service, but that did not happen.

The tenant complaint on that day was taken by a secretary who, the report states, left work before the message was passed on to a supervisor.

NYCHA's senior management did not learn about or investigate the incident until four days later.

The problem was traced to a faulty brake monitor designed to stop any elevator with bad brakes. NYCHA checked citywide and found 80 other brake monitors with problems.

The Department of Investigation's commissioner said the more than 400,000 News Yorkers in public housing deserved better.

The head of NYCHA promised immediate reforms and accountability stating, "We are aggressively investigating several workers to bring disciplinary action as soon as possible. There must be consequences."

The housing authority said new training is underway to make sure the Pabon tragedy is never repeated.

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