Broken elevators leave senior citizens at Francis Heights stranded

Posted at 2:35 PM, Apr 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-02 20:03:57-04

DENVER — People living in Denver’s Francis Heights senior living facility said their weekend was filled with frustration.

The building on 2626 Osceola Street only has two elevators and both were down on Saturday. The problem left hundreds of residents stranded for several hours.

One elevator was back in operation on Sunday, but residents said more needs to be done.

“Went to breakfast. When we came back, the elevator was stuck! Couldn’t get back home,” Marie Velishek told Denver7.

Velishek uses a scooter to get around. She wasn’t left with any options on Saturday, with both elevators down.

“It was hell, because I didn’t have my medicine,” Velishek said, adding she spent six hours in the main lobby, waiting for the elevators to be repaired.

However, residents at the senior living facility said they’ve been waiting much longer for repairs.

“It’s now been two weeks since one elevator’s been down, for over 200 people in this building,” resident Marc Rosen said.

He said those who are able, choose to take the stairs, but that’s not an option for a lot of senior citizens living at Francis Heights.

Rosen isn’t handicapped, but faces challenges of his own, “Going down is easy, but going up 14 flights is tough ‘cause I have COPD and my breathing is rough.”

A little inconvenience is the least of residents’ worries though.

“If I got stuck on the elevator, how would I get off?” Velishek asked.

Safety continues to be the main issue for these senior citizens. Velishek has spent the last seven years in a scooter. New concerns surround what would happen to her in an emergency with either elevator out of service.

On Sunday, Denver7 reached out to Mercy Housing Colorado.

National director Kate Peterson said they are waiting for their elevator contractor to get the replacement part in stock.

Peterson added the elevator is scheduled to be repaired Monday.

“While the elevator has been down, residents have been able to use the second elevator. Unfortunately, that elevator briefly stopped working yesterday (Saturday), but was back in operation within hours.” Peterson continues, “We will continue to work with our elevator contractor to get this matter resolved as soon as possible, as it is a high priority.”

We spoke with Denver Fire who told us they are aware of the elevator issue at the two-building complex.

Fire officials said they have issued a “Written Order of Compliance,” basically giving the building manager direction to get the elevators fixed.

Denver7 was also told a Fire Prevention representative will be on-location Monday morning.

The department said they are happy one of the elevators is operating in each of the buildings.


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