ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque woman says she’s been stranded multiple times in her own apartment. Despite her limited mobility, she was placed in a top-floor apartment and says the elevators often break down, leaving her unable to leave in an emergency.
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Stephanie McKenzie says it was a no-brainer to move back home to New Mexico. However, the return has been less than welcoming when it comes to her apartment. “I retired and I loved New Mexico,” said McKenzie. “I had been working in Alabama but I wanted to come back to New Mexico.”
She found an apartment before the move at ‘The Pearl’ apartment complex at Gibson and San Pedro. She let them know with her limited mobility, she needed a first-floor apartment, then paid and made the drive west but when she arrived, things became less than ideal.
“I said I use a walker so I need to be on the first floor,” said McKenzie, recalling her experience with the leasing agent. “She said, ‘oh no, we have elevators, you’ll be fine. We have a really nice apartment on the fourth floor that will work for you.'”
The catch — McKenzie says most days, it’s hard to know if she can even rely on the elevators to leave her home with them often breaking down. Recently, she missed a family holiday gathering because both were out-of-order and she can’t use the stairs.
“I woke up and thought, well, if this place was on fire, surely they would come and tell me,” said McKenzie, remembering hearing sirens in the night a few months ago. “Then, when I woke up in the morning, I looked out and they had this yellow tape all over the elevator. Come to find out, the elevator had caught fire during the night.”
The elevator has been out-of-order since August, leaving only one other elevator on the opposite side of the complex to get to, and when that one is out-of-order, she’s stranded. She says nothing has been done to remedy the situation and worries if another fire breaks out, she won’t be able to escape.
“They haven’t shown any concern,” said McKenzie, adding that she’s made multiple calls to apartment management. “They haven’t really expressed any concern.”
In the meantime, McKenzie has purchased a motorized scooter to get back and forth to the elevator but it only does so much if they’re out-of-order. She hopes management will make changes to the complex so it’s more friendly for the disabled.
“Walking clear down there and back to my car was really wearing on my knees,” said McKenzie. “I didn’t want to get to the place where I didn’t want to go anywhere.”
In the meantime, McKenzie says she is looking for a new place to move to where she can be on the first floor. KRQE News 13 reached out to The Pearl Apartments both by phone and through their website but did not hear back.