Pasco apartment managers fix broken elevator after ‘Better Call Behnken’ investigation

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) – After 17 days, crews repaired a broken elevator at Summer Lake Villas apartment complex in New Port Richey.

The complex is home to many disabled residents. They’ve been stuck in their apartments since the elevators stopped working after a lightning strike.

Alicia Craig, the retention community manager, said she hopes to have the other 10 elevators running again by the end of this week. She said the delay was because of an insurance issue.

RELATED: Residents receive answers about broken elevator after ‘Better Call Behnken’ investigation

After the repairs, state officials will need to inspect all elevators. The complex will have to pay fees and delinquent penalties. The aging elevators have operated with expired licenses since 2014, and the complex received 21 citations and fines of $5,250 in August 2014.

William Cooper lives on the third floor. He uses a wheelchair and is unable to get downstairs without the elevator. For the past two weeks, he says he has used an ambulance transport service about 10 times to get to doctor’s appointments and emergency care visits. The transport service used a special chair to get him down to the ground floor.

“Because I am a disabled veteran from Vietnam and because I got PTSD, I got so damn angry, I just, I want to whack somebody in the face,” Cooper said.

8 On Your Side first told this story a week ago, after calls from desperate residents.

Craig, the apartment community manager, did not talk to 8 On Your Side until today. She said she cares about her residents and is doing everything she can to help them. She offered to move any resident to a first floor apartment until the elevators are repaired.

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