The Bellflower Friendship Manor is an eight-story building where senior citizens can feel at home. But this week, a broken elevator system left them stuck at home.
Broken elevator forces evacuations at Bellflower senior-living apartment complex
BELLFLOWER, Calif. (KABC) — Next to a park and near two major freeways, the Bellflower Friendship Manor is an 8-story building where senior citizens can feel at home.
But this week, a broken elevator system left them stuck at home.
“I couldn’t leave,” said Sharon Gobbi, a tenant. “Without my walker, I can’t go downstairs, and there are a lot of people there with wheelchairs and scooters. They can’t get downstairs.”
On Thursday tenants were forced out of their homes, in a mandatory evacuation, as the city red-tagged the building.
“The fire department had to carry me out, down 5 flights of stairs and that was pretty scary,” said Gobbi.
Gobbi says one of the two elevators has been out for months. The other became less reliable over time, then stopped working entirely on Sunday.
“I have complained and complained and complained and asked for help,” said Gobbi. “We just get the runaround.”
“We” as in she and her daughter Lisa, who has also tried getting answers for her mom.
“That’s been the theme… maybe they’ll get it running, or they’ll just get a part. Or maybe it’s a week, maybe it’s a month,” said Marquise. “They don’t know how long.”
Neither Bellflower Friendship Manor nor its management company, FPI Management, returned ABC7’s requests for comment.
In a written statement, the City of Bellflower said in part, “Prior to this incident, the City received complaints regarding elevator malfunctions at the senior center over the last several months… in an attempt to address the issues, the senior center’s management implemented temporary fixes for the elevators.”
It continues– “The City and the Los Angeles County Fire Department were compelled to act when it was determined that both elevators had become entirely non-operational.”
Tenants say they were offered hotel rooms and vouchers.
“But she has a lot of needs,” said Marquise, of her mother. “She was scared. I was scared. I don’t want her to be alone in a hotel room.”
Gobbi has moved in with her daughter, with no proof yet on when she can return. And with the fear that she might not.
“This is her home,” said Marquise. “It’s really hard for her to get section 8 housing. The waiting lists are long. If she can’t get back into her apartment, we don’t know what we’re going to do.”