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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Faina Zaltsman, 81, has lived a life filled with struggles and heartache. She and her husband survived the Holocaust, only to see see their son killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now, the couple says that they are prisoners in their Brooklyn home.
The elevator in their building, 7714 Bay Parkway, has not been working for nearly three weeks, CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez reported, leaving Zaltsman unable to leave her building. A recent medical emergency forced rescue crews to carry her down five flights of stairs.
“It’s really life threatening. You really never know what can happen to you at any minute,” she said on Friday.
Zaltsman isn’t the only one impacted by the broken elevator. Many of the building’s tenants are senior citizens who suffer from painful physical ailments. Unable to navigate the building’s stairs, many of these men and women said they have missed medical appointments and have not been able to shop for groceries.
“I can’t leave. I’m trapped indoors,” Dennis Carpenito said.
Others have resorted to asking strangers for help.
“I have to ask somebody in the street, a strange man, to offer him $5 to carry my shopping cart up five flights of stairs,” 81-year-old Claire Kassel said.
The Department of Buildings inspected the elevator on Monday, but it remains out of service. The department issued a violation to the owner.
CBS 2 called the owner and landlord for a comment, but they could not be reached. The city said it has been receiving complaints about the elevator since 2012, and residents said they have been begging for help.
“Where is the law that says if we get penalized, if we don’t pay our rent, but if he don’t give up service, he can wipe his mouth and walk away? That is wrong,” Eugene Spagnoli, 81, said.
Tenants said they fear the broken elevator could lead to an irreparable tragedy.
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