Westland, Michigan – Almost a week later, Westland’s separate senior living building elevators are back in operation.
On Christmas Eve, a fire pump on the fifth floor of Thomas Taylor Towers burst. Apartments and elevators were damaged by the flood.
The ten-story building has over 260 units and two elevators. Both elevators were filled with large amounts of water.
60 apartments suffered water damage and crews went in and out to remove the carpet in those units.
No one was evacuated, but the six days without a lift were tough because the building was full of elderly people, some using walkers, scooters and wheelchairs.
“I was really busy and couldn’t do anything, especially when the water started to run low,” said third-floor resident Beverly Turduff. “I threw in a few towels to try and stop the spread and they came out and moved all the furniture and tore all the carpets.”
Taylor Towers staff said repair, restoration and contract crews had arrived within hours.
Tarduff and the other residents were in good spirits throughout the week.
“My husband has a bit of a heart problem, so he has to walk five steps and stop, but he’s doing it. We run away.”
Residents were supported rather than solving challenges on their own.
Last week, the staff, including executive director Teresa DeHart-Schulcz, were doing what they could. She explains that it took her several days to fix the elevator because of the holidays and the repair company had to order parts.
“We have a chairlift that the fire department left on Saturday,” says DeHart-Schulcz.
“I know they deliver our mail,” Turduff says.
Another resident, Mary Mathis, said, “When you go to the store and buy groceries, they usually help you carry them. They will help you.”
On Friday, staff handed out packets with information about floor representatives, nearby takeaways, grocery delivery options, dog walking services, how to get rental insurance, and more.
Residents helped each other.
“Everybody watches everybody, checks everybody,” Turduff says. “Dorothy on the 6th floor, I’m always worried about her running out of food. She kept saying she’ll be fine for another two days.”
After several days of work and waiting, the freight elevators were back in operation on Friday morning.
According to DeHart-Schulcz, their priority was to get at least one elevator working.
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