Woman stranded in her own apartment in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A woman from Albuquerque says she has been stranded in her own apartment several times. Despite her limited mobility, she was placed in a top-floor apartment and says elevators often fail, leaving her unable to leave in an emergency.

Stephanie McKenzie says it was obvious to return home to New Mexico. However, the feedback has been less than welcoming when it comes to her apartment. “I retired and loved New Mexico,” McKenzie said. “I had worked in Alabama but wanted to come back to New Mexico.”

She found an apartment before the move to ‘The Pearl’ apartment complex in Gibson and San Pedro. She let them know that with her limited mobility she needed an apartment on the first floor, then paid and made the trip west, but when she got there things got far from being ideal.

“I said I was using a walker so I had to be on the first floor,” McKenzie said, recalling his experience with the rental agent. “She said, ‘oh no, we have elevators, everything will be fine. We have a very nice apartment on the fourth floor that will work for you. ‘”

The catch – McKenzie says most of the time it’s hard to know if she can even rely on the elevators to leave her house with them which often break down. Recently, she missed a family reunion while on vacation because the two were down and she couldn’t use the stairs.

“I woke up and thought, well, if this place was on fire, they would surely come and tell me,” McKenzie said, recalling hearing sirens in the night a few months ago. “Then when I woke up in the morning I looked outside and they had this yellow tape all over the elevator. Come find out, the elevator caught fire overnight.

The elevator has been out of order since August, leaving only one other elevator on the other side of the complex to access it, and when this one does, it gets stuck. She says nothing has been done to remedy the situation and worries if another fire breaks out she will not be able to escape.

“They didn’t show any concerns,” McKenzie said, adding that she had called the apartment management several times. “They haven’t really expressed concern.”

In the meantime, McKenzie has bought a motorized scooter to take him back and forth to the elevator, but he doesn’t do much if it’s broken down. She hopes management will make changes to the resort to make it more disabled-friendly.

“Clear walking in there and back to my car was really tiring on my knees,” McKenzie said. “I didn’t want to get to where I didn’t want to go anywhere.”

In the meantime, McKenzie says she’s looking for a new place to move where she can be on the first floor. KRQE News 13 contacted The Pearl Apartments both by phone and through their website, but had no response.

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