City report finds systemic problems with NYCHA elevators

Death of elderly tenant in the Bronx spurred investigation

2440 Boston Road in the Bronx
2440 Boston Road in the Bronx

UPDATED, March 29, 4:50 p.m.: Spurred by the death of an elderly tenant, the city investigated the New York City Housing Authority’s elevators and found systemic problems, specifically with fail-safe measures.

On Christmas Eve, octogenarian Olegario Pabon, died in a faulty elevator at NYCHA’s Boston Road Plaza in the Bronx. The city’s Department of Investigation looked into the incident and a report found that a brake monitor, a fail-safe device, had been disabled on the elevator, the New York Daily News reported.

NYCHA found that out of 1,080 elevators with the same brake monitor it inspected, 80 weren’t working, according to the newspaper.

“DOI’s investigation uncovered significant flaws in NYCHA’s handling of elevator complaints, as well as NYCHA’s compliance with elevator safety laws,” according to the report.

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According to the report, NYCHA knew that the elevator had problems, but did not service it. The Daily News reported that a Boston Road tenant called NYCHA’s command center before Pabon died and said it was “going up and down by itself” with the door open, and when the door did close, “it slams real hard.”

Since the incident, NYCHA said it has fixed the brake monitors and would require mechanics to regularly check them, according to the News.

“We are aggressively investigating several workers to bring disciplinary action as soon as possible. There must be consequences,” said NYCHA CEO Shola Olatoye in a statement.

NYCHA, which has been mired in financial woes, said on Monday it has a $60 million deficit, according to reports. Gov. Andrew Cuomo allocated $100 million last April for repairs. [NYDN]Dusica Sue Malesevic

This post was updated with a statement from Olatoye.