Broken elevators leave elderly, disabled residents stranded in Punchbowl building

Some elderly and disabled residents say they are trapped after the elevators in their seven story building stopped working.

They live at the Punchbowl Home apartments, which is run by the Hawaii Public Housing Authority

Residents called our newsroom, frustrated because the elevators that broke Monday, still aren’t working and the elevators were just installed lin 2014.

“A prisoner,” said Jeanne Lorrin, resident of Punchbowl Home. “I feel like I am in jail that’s what it feels like.”

With both elevators out some people are forced to use the stairs if they have to leave for food or to pick up medicine, but Lorrin says some people can’t leave.

“There are a lot of other old folks especially that are not on the ground floor, but on the 7th floor,” said Lorrin. “How are they going to get down with their walkers? If they have no family what are they doing? Sitting in their apartment starving?”

The two elevators were installed in February 2014. So what is causing the problems?

“Unfortunately due to the high rain and humidity there was some humidity that formed behind the circuit board in the elevators and shorted out the elevators,” said Hakim Ouansafi, executive director of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority.

Ouansafi says the circuit board was replaced, but the replacement shorted out as well because of the humidity and moisture. He expects the repairs to be made by Wednesday.

“The part will be fixed because the elevator is brand new there is no doubt about that and our staff is there to assist any elderly that may need help from us,” Ouansafi said.

But Humidity can be a problem in Hawaii, so KHON2 wanted to know what will be done to make sure these elevators and others in public housing buildings wont have problems as well.

“We did flag it to our engineers and we will be looking into that,” said Ouansafi. “We are going to circle back with our consultants to see if there are any other improvements that can be done.”

Officials say there have been no other issues with the other elevators that were installed in 2014.


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