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Broken elevator traps Hamilton seniors in their apartments — for 25 days and counting

Posted: 11:05 PM, Jul 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-10 01:00:32-04

HAMILTON, Ohio — Bobbie Miller has leukemia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Walking up the four flights of stairs to her apartment at Sherman Manor, where most residents are 55 or older, takes the air of her lungs.

But that’s exactly what she’s had to do every time she wants to leave her apartment for the last 25 days. The elevator at Sherman Manor has been broken since mid-June, according to multiple residents. Some, like Miller, struggle up and down stairs despite physical handicaps.

Others, like brain cancer patient Cheryl Hurley, can’t.

“For the past 25 days, she hasn't been able to leave the apartment,” her husband, Frank, said. “She has a doctor's appointment on Thursday, which we're going to have to cancel if the elevator doesn't get fixed."

He added he’s contacted the property manager multiple times, but nothing has changed. A repair crew visited near the end of June and successfully restored the elevator to working condition — until it broke again 12 hours later.

They didn’t come back.

“I don't want to be special,” Hurley said of his decision to speak to the news. “I don't want to be anything. Just, if you promise me something as a landlord follow through."

He and Miller both called the situation untenable and worried aloud what might happen in a real emergency.

They’ve already seen neighbors stumble on ordinary walks up and down the stairs, they said. For those who are truly housebound, a fire might not be a life-or-death situation. It might just be death.

"We've all worked all our lives, and you get up in age, you get sickly, and we deserve more respect from some people than we get,” Miller said. “I’m speaking up because I’m tired. I’m sick. I’m tired. I watch my friends and the people here struggle every day.”

Property manager Mike Taylor told WCPO that Sherman Manor recently ended its relationship with the elevator maintenance company responsible for the delay. They’ll work directly with the elevator manufacturer starting Wednesday.