NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The consequences of a tragic elevator accident in Brooklyn earlier this month has made life miserable for some elderly and disabled residents of Manhattan.

CBS2’s Sonia Rincon was demanding answers Thursday, after a viewer in Harlem complained.

Back on Oct. 2, a man died in Williamsburg, Brooklyn trying to escape an elevator that suddenly dropped. After the accident that killed Eran Modan, 37, the Department of Buildings ordered inspections for every elevator system of the same specific make because of a possible defect.

Until those elevators pass tests, they are off limits.

One elevator on East 131st Street failed, and will likely need a major repair. That has meant two weeks of trekking up and down steep stairs for residents who have physical challenges.

“I’m in pain,” said Michelle Hill. “I have double hip replacements, and I’m disabled.”

Hill did not move into the Harlem building to live in a six-floor walkup. But that is what it has been since Oct. 11.

“To me, this is like being in jail,” Hill said.

Hill’s neighbors down the hall just had a baby, and they also have a 1-year-old who has to be in a stroller.

“Every day, I have to carry all that stuff,” said Mohammed Bayo. “And then I buy a new bed for the baby, I have to carry all the way from the first floor to the sixth floor.”

On the fifth floor, Muriel Tull is 86 years old.

“It’s terrible going up and down these steps,” she said.

“It’s been two weeks now, and it’s really taken a toll, because she cannot really on the spur-of-the-moment so any shopping or anything,” added her son, Darrell Tull. “We have to plan it, to make sure that’s he can go and come back safely.”

Residents keep calling Lott Community Development Corp., which manages the building, asking what’s taking so long.

“Talk to this person, talk to that person — everybody’s pushing it off to another person,” Hill said.

CBS2 spoke with Chris Cirillo, the executive director of the Lott Community Development. He declined to appear on camera, but told CBS2 it is a process with a lot of steps that will take time.

The next step, Cirillo said, is getting a proposal from the company that will do the repair work. He said it is not clear how long that job might take.

Management said it is also sending people to help. But for residents, that is not reassuring.

“If he can’t help carry me up the stairs, he’s not helping me,” Hill said. “If he can’t get the elevator fixed, he’s not helping me.”

The Buildings Department said there are about 60 elevator systems around the city that needed inspection, and 15 to 20 of them are still offline.

The department also confirmed what residents of the building told CBS2 — that inspections from a private company were not performed until this week.


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