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Still Shaken By Fatal Accident, Residents In Manhattan Building Now Worried About Lone Working Elevator

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Just one week after a man died in a Midtown building, tenants say their only working elevator still has issues.

They want more than just a fix. They want new elevators.

On Thursday, CBS2's Lisa Rozner spoke with tenants who said until that happens they're taking the stairs.

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The infamous elevator is now roped off and plastered with city notices. It's an eerie reminder for those living at the Manhattan Promenade on Third Avenue in Kips Bay. Their neighbor, 30-year-old Sam Waisbren, died here one week ago as he was exiting the elevator and it plummeted, crushing him.

"We are not feeling safe anymore at all. Many tenants are leaving the building," resident Carla Barrucci said.

Sam Waisbren
Sam Waisbren (credit: Waisbren family)

Heartbroken residents said there are still issues with the other elevator, which is now the only operating one in the building. Tamara Harris said her daughter took it a few days ago and, "It got stuck on the 22nd floor."

Complaints lodged via 311 in recent days said it is "not stopping on all floors" and "the elevator shakes really bad."

Dayna Sargen, who spoke to CBS2 last week, left town but spoke with Rozner by phone and said one resident told her the elevator "went all the way to the penthouse and then dropped very quickly back to the lobby."

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The city's Department of Buildings said it's doing daily inspections and that the elevator is safe, but some said they've lost trust with the agency.

"They signed off on both elevators almost actually three weeks before the incident last week and clearly something was very, very wrong," Sargen said.

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A spokesperson for the DOB told Rozner the commissioner has ordered the landlord of the building to have an elevator attendant at all times. That person must report any issues and they are also there to prevent overcrowding.

"I live in a high floor, so I'd rather move out and find something else," resident Elise Cho said.

When asked what needs to happen for her to feel safe, Barrucci said, "Replace completely the elevator, completely. It's the only way."

A building email to residents says that's the plan, but work can't begin until the DOB finishes its investigation. Experts said that could take weeks. In the meantime, tenants said no one should have to think about their safety, just to leave their home.

Another possible delay in the new elevators will be the fact that city law requires every building have at least one working elevator at a time. CBS2 made multiple calls to the property management company, ATA Enterprises, but they were not returned.

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