Owner system

No fire alarm system or working elevators in Wake Forest apartment complex

WAKE FOREST, NC (WTVD) – Dozens of Wake Forest residents are stranded without working elevators and without a fire alarm system for days after a lightning strike at apartments in Huntington Springs.

These are apartments for residents fifty-five and older, and many residents are disabled and cannot climb stairs. With no timeline for repairs and desperate for help, they contacted tow truck Diane Wilson for answers.

“I’m on the fourth floor. It’s hard to get down,” resident Daniel Wagenblast said.

Wagenblast uses a walker to get around and cannot climb stairs on his own. He has to call the Wake Forest Fire Department and the firefighters respond to his call and help him up and down the stairs so he can get to his dialysis appointments.

“I missed Tuesday because I didn’t know the elevators weren’t working,” Wagenblast added.

Unable to miss any more dialysis appointments, Wagenblast says help from firefighters is the only way he can get up and down the four flights of stairs every time he has to leave his apartment.
Not having working elevators is not just a problem for Wagenblast, but also for Marcia Walker who gets around on a scooter.

“I want the elevator fixed because I canceled all but one of my doctor’s appointments,” Walker said.

Another resident who lives on the fourth floor showed Wilson the bruises she has after she said she fell after walking down the stairs in her apartment.

“I was weak because I had problems with both my feet, so I was very, very weak.”

In addition to the lack of working elevators, an even bigger problem was the lightning that knocked out the entire building’s fire alarm system.

A representative from the Wake Forest Fire Department was on site at the apartment complex and informed complex management; they must have staff walking the halls around the clock watching for fires until the alarm system is fixed.

“Ultimately, apartment management has two options: 1) evacuate the building and find temporary housing for the residents; or 2) observe a ‘fire watch’ which requires someone to perform regular checks throughout. the building. To date, apartment management has opted for the second option,” said a representative for the town of Wake Forest.

The apartment complex’s operations manager confirmed that he has had someone monitoring the fires since the lightning strike and repairs to the fire alarm system have been delayed due to a parts supply problem. She added that although they have the parts to fix the elevators, without a working fire alarm system, she says they cannot operate the elevators.

On Friday, residents received a letter from Huntington Springs Apartments management explaining that they had taken a two-step approach to resolving the issues. The first is to send the main panel for repair, which should take between ten and fifteen days. He also explains that they also ordered a new panel, but due to supply issues with chip shortages over six months ahead. The letter says they hope the repair will get the system fixed and the elevators operational.

According to the letter, if the timeline for repairs is too difficult for residents and they have to leave temporarily, management will provide rent credit from the day the resident leaves until the day they return. The letter also gave residents resources to contact within the community if they needed help.

Wake Forest Fire Department officials said they will continue to provide assistance to residents who need help getting to dialysis and other urgent medical appointments until the fire alarm is repaired and the elevator is operational.

Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All rights reserved.