Seniors return to apartments after being displaced because of broken elevator

Seniors return to apartments after being displaced because of broken elevator

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Some Pascagoula senior citizens are back in their apartments after being forced to live elsewhere for nearly a month because of a broken elevator.

As of Friday morning, the elevator is working again.

Diabetic, legally blind and using a wheelchair after having her leg amputated, when Kathy Burkes moved into Bay Towers Senior Apartments three years ago, her daughter says it seemed like a good idea. Christy Couevas says her mother likes spending time around people her own age.

However, recently things changed for 70-year-old Burkes.

"Over the last six months the elevator over there at Bay Towers has been broken multiple times," said Couevas. "And the Pascagoula Fire Department had to come and get her out of her apartment multiple times because she goes to dialysis Monday, Wednesday and Friday. With the elevator being broken. She's on the second floor."

City records show twice since the elevator broke on Oct. 2, Pascagoula firefighters responded to calls to help Burkes up and down the stairs. In a statement, city officials say fire and building officials have done inspections and interviewed residents to be sure management provided them hotel rooms and adequate assistance with mobility issues

The statement went on to say the city can only take limited action in these cases.

"It is a complicated and sensitive issue. The next step in our procedure may demonstrate that the city has a firm hand, but would end up creating further hardship for the residents of Bay Towers, and would not expedite the repairs," the statement read.

In a phone conversation, the property manager denied that the elevator has been broken several times of the past six months, but did acknowledge the elevator had been under repair the past three weeks and is now fixed.

Seniors say they were glad to be coming back home, but Kathy Burke will not be returning to her apartment because she passed away on Oct. 20.

Burkes' daughter says she brought the elevator problem to the attention of WLOX News because she was concerned for her mother's neighbors.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.