WESTLAND, Mich. – After nearly a week, the elevators in a Westland independent senior living building are back up and running.
On Christmas Eve, the Thomas Taylor Towers’ fire suppression pump burst on the fifth floor. The flood water damaged apartments and elevators.
In the 10-story building there are more than 260 units and two elevators. Both elevators were filled with large amounts of water.
60 apartments had water damage, crews went in to remove the carpet in those units.
No one was displaced, but with a building full of seniors with some who use walkers, scooters and wheelchairs, six days without an elevator was difficult.
“Omg hectic, especially when the water started coming down there was nothing we could do,” says Beverly Tardiff, who lives on the third floor. “We threw a couple of towels down to try to stop the spread then they came out and ripped out all the carpeting moving all the furniture.”
Taylor Towers staff say within hours repair, restoration and contracting crews arrived to help.
Tardiff and other residents were in good spirits throughout the week.
“My husband has slight heart problems so he’s got to take five steps and stop, five steps and stop but he’s doing it, we’re getting out,” says Tardiff.
Residents didn’t navigate challenges on their own, there was support.
For the last week, staff, including executive director Teresa DeHart-Schulcz, were doing all they could. She explains elevator repairs took days due to the holiday and the repair company having to order parts.
“We have a chair lift that the fire department left on Saturday,” says DeHart-Schulcz.
Tardiff says, “I know they’re delivering our mail.”
Mary Mattice, another resident says, “If you go out to the store and get groceries, they usually help you carry them, they have staff here that helps take them upstairs.”
Friday, staff passed out packets with information on floor representatives, nearby carry-out, grocery delivery options, dog walking services, how to go about renters insurance and more.
Residents also helped each other.
“Everyone watches everyone, everyone checks on everyone,” says Tardiff. “Dorothy on the sixth floor, I always worry about her running out of food, she kept telling me she’s good for two more days.”
After days of working and waiting, the freight elevator was back up and running Friday morning.
DeHart-Schulcz says their priority was to get at least one of the elevators working, the second elevator was more damaged and will take longer to fix.