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Seniors forced to take five flights of stairs after elevator breaks down in St. Pete condo building

Residents made a call for action after waiting three months for fix
Posted at 5:13 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 17:27:22-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — For 82-year-old Marion Boyle, getting out of the house is a struggle. She lives on the fifth floor of the Emory building at Five Towns Condominiums in St. Petersburg, and she told ABC Action News in December, “I almost fell the other day taking the laundry down when my foot caught on the end of the step.”

To keep from falling, Boyle said she holds onto the stairwell railing with both hands and takes one step at a time. This is the time-consuming, exhausting and slightly dangerous way she’s managed to get to her doctor appointments ever since September when the building’s only elevator went out of service.


Someone posted a sign on the elevator with the name and number of an ambulance in case of emergency. ABC Action News confirmed that the nearby Lealman Fire Department has responded to numerous calls to assist people up and down the stairwell.

Records from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation revealed the elevator failed inspection on October 7, and the DBPR granted a permit to replace a piston.

Five Towns Condominiums resident Steven Pugh said he’s tried calling the condo association board but didn’t get any concrete answers.

“They just say there is nothing they can do,” he said. “It will be here when it gets here.”

Pugh, who lives on the first floor, said he helps several of his older neighbors maneuver the stairs and sometimes helps them get around using them.

”We are helping a lady on the second floor,” he said. “When she needs food, she emails us a list and we get it and go take it to her.”

By late December when residents were still waiting for the fix they contacted ABC Action News. Taking Action reporter Jackie Callaway spoke with an association board member who said the elevator was 50-plus years old and it was difficult to find parts needed for repairs. ,

Less than two weeks after the call, a repair crew returned to the job site and by early January the residents reported the elevator was up and running.