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Vet struggles to climb stairs as Heather Gardens takes elevator out of service for code upgrade

Process could take more than a week
Posted at 8:32 PM, Dec 06, 2018

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AURORA, Colo. – Imagine walking up four flights of stairs and getting so winded that you have to stop at each landing to catch your breath.

That’s the reality for Vietnam War vet Allen Sanchez.

The 69-year-old Aurora resident said he’d normally use his motorized wheel chair to zip in and out of the elevator. Once downstairs, he can get into his car, run errands or go see his doctor at the VA Hospital.

But the elevator in his building at Heather Gardens is out of service for repairs, so Sanchez huffs and puffs his way up and down the stairs.

“If you don’t make those (VA) appointments, it’ll take three months before you can get another one,” he said.

Sanchez said climbing stairs is not easy for someone with lung and hip problems. He attributes both to exposure to Agent Orange during the war.

“Agent Orange is eating up my bones,” he said.

Out of Service for a Week

Sanchez told Contact7 that his elevator has been out of service for a week. He said he doesn’t understand that.

“I used to work in maintenance engineering, and we used to fix elevators,” he said. “It took us a couple of days…a couple of days at the most.”

Heather Gardens Reply

Heather Gardens issued a statement saying they are working on a scheduled code upgrade required by the state.

“This upgrade is much more than simple maintenance and takes 5-7 days to complete,” the statement said. “As an HOA, we care about our residents’ safety and this is just one example of how we are ensuring our elevators are operating safely.”

A representative told Contact7 that residents were notified in advance about the maintenance.

“We notify the fire department in case of an emergency, they provide special slider chairs if needed; we have rest stations accessible at each landing and there are often times our staff jumps in to assist if they can.”


Sanchez said he’s fortunate that his daughter can help pick up groceries or medication if necessary.

He said some neighbors don’t have family that can help.

But the elevator isn’t the only issue, according to him.

Sanchez said access to the garage was curtailed for several days recently, while crews repaired the garage door.

“We had to park a few blocks away,” he said.

A few minutes later, Sanchez held up a note informing him that his water will be shut off.

“There’s a constant frustration in these (condos) where now the water is going to be turned off,” Sanchez said.

He said there should be far fewer issues when you pay $380 plus in monthly HOA fees.

Heather Gardens said when there are maintenance issues, they address them before they get worse.