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Mother of special needs child wants escalator repaired at local Macy’s

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COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va -- For seven months Grace Swearingen said she has asked management with the Macy's in Colonial Heights to repair their escalator. Swearingen said some days only one side worked, other days both sides were  down.

Frustrated by how long it has taken, she spoke with the city and on January 20, a building inspector found both sides not working and nothing blocking customers from walking up or down the stopped escalator. A violation notice was issued giving the store 30 days to get it fixed or block public access.

Grace Swearingen and daughter

Grace Swearingen and daughter Lori

An escalator not working does not fall under the American's with Disabilities Act because there is an elevator available that does work.

But Grace's daughter Lori cannot use an elevator.

"She has fear seizures and certain things will trigger that, scare her, and she'll go into a seizure and I don't want to chance it," her mom said.

A records check found the escalators have had problems in the past.

On September 24, 2014, Macy's was evacuated when smoke started coming out from one of the escalators.

In March 2015, the escalators failed inspection.

escalator 3

Now in a 2016, Scott Davis with the City of Colonial Heights said it had a code violation.

"It has to be operational or it has to be blocked off to where it cannot be used and it was not operational nor was it blocked off at that point in time," he said.

Monday afternoon, Macy's issued the following statement to CBS 6:

"We are aware of the issue and can assure that the company is working hard to diagnose and fix problem in a timely manner.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."

A local escalator repair company said it could be difficult to find parts for the type escalator at the Macy's at Southpark Mall, but that parts are out there. They also said it was extremely dangerous to walk down a non-functioning escalator because of the difference in the rise between escalator steps and the steps inside a home.

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