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Fair,62°
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Updated
Elevator problems persist at Long Beach high-rise
City may impose larger penalties on negligent landlords
Anthony Rifilato/Herald
City council members Eileen Goggin, third from left, and Fran Adelson, right, inspected the conditions at 10 Monroe Blvd., on a day when the elevator happened to be working. They said that the city is seeking to impose tougher penalties on negligent landlords.

Scott Meyer heard the commotion when he returned home to 10 Monroe Blvd. on July 27. The superintendent of the seven-story apartment building was in the lobby, trying to pry open the elevator doors with a crowbar to free a resident who was stuck between floors.

“I had walked in the side door and could hear something going on,” said Meyer, 40. “The superintendent had a big crowbar and the door wasn’t moving. He handed me a crowbar and the both of us were just pulling the door. There was a young girl in there, probably about 20. The elevator didn’t come down all the way. We finally got the door open enough for her to come out. She was definitely scared and really freaking out.”

It was the third incident in a week in which a tenant became stuck in the elevator. On July 31, second-floor tenant Olga Lopez said she was trapped for about 20 minutes when she returned home from buying groceries. “They told me the elevator was working,” she said. “I’m claustrophobic — I was so scared, and I was shaking.”

Just hours later, Long Beach firefighters helped a tenant when the elevator malfunctioned yet again, Meyer said.

City officials said that even before Hurricane Sandy, the 104-unit, rent-controlled apartment building, which was built in 1967, had major issues with its two elevators. One was destroyed in the storm and needs to be replaced, and the other was damaged and is unreliable, officials said. “Now I’m terrified because people keep getting stuck,” said Andrea Keiser, whose elderly father lives on the top floor.

Tenants have also complained about leaks in the roof, crumbling walls and shoddy railings on the terraces and in the stairwells, which many are forced to use while elevator service is spotty at best, they said. Many residents are elderly and unable to use the stairs, and complain that they have been isolated in their apartments. Others have helped them with their groceries and other errands.

“My wife is eight and a half months pregnant with twins, and she has to use the stairs all the time,” said Meyer, who lives on the third floor.

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