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Man says broken elevators kept him confined inside Richmond apartment

RICHMOND, Va. -- A disabled man said he spent the long holiday weekend stranded in his apartment building because the elevators did not work.

Noland Noel, 59, lives in the Richmond Dairy Apartments on Marshall Street.

He said one of the building's elevators broke several weeks ago. A second elevator, he said, failed on Thanksgiving.

Noel, who suffers from congestive heart failure, kidney failure, emphysema, diabetes, and hypertension said he felt helpless knowing he was vulnerable inside his second-floor apartment. He feared for his safety because he said he was unable to access to the building's exits.

"Unless I walk up and down the stairs, which is not good for me in the condition that I'm in," Noel said. "It's even worse for the people who live over me in the building that are in wheelchairs. They couldn't leave either."

Noel said this was not the first time the building experienced elevators problems. He said while one elevator is consistently broken, a second is often shut down at night for security reasons.

On Monday, residents found apology notes left on their doors.

The notes read, in part, that building managers were sorry an elevator fix took so long, saying parts had to be ordered.

The company that manages the Richmond Dairy Apartments has not responded to the CBS 6 Problem Solvers request for an interview.

CBS 6 reached out to Richmond city officials about the elevator issue.

John Walsh, Richmond Code Enforcement Operations Manager, said once they were informed about the broken elevators an inspector went to the property and the elevators were now working.

As for the regulation dealing with elevators, the Virginia Maintenance Code states the following:

606.1 General. Elevators, dumbwaiters and escalators shall be maintained in compliance with ASME A17.1. The most current certificate of inspection shall be on display at all times within the elevator or attached to the escalator or dumbwaiter, be available for public inspection in the office of the building operator or be posted in a publicly conspicuous location approved by the code official. An annual periodic inspection and test is required of elevators and escalators. A locality shall be permitted to require a six-month periodic inspection and test. All periodic inspections shall be performed in accordance with Section 8.11 of ASME A17.1. The code official may also provide for such inspection by an approved agency or through agreement with other local certified elevator inspectors. An approved agency includes any individual, partnership or corporation who has met the certification requirements established by the Virginia Certification Standards.

606.2 Elevators. In buildings equipped with passenger elevators, at least one elevator shall be maintained in operation at all times when the building is    occupied.

Exception: Buildings equipped with only one elevator shall be permitted to have the elevator temporarily out of service for testing or servicing.