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Fire suspends elevator service in senior high rise in Allentown

Episcopal House waiting on parts for elevator repair.

Fire damages elevator in high rise

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Residents in a high rise in Allentown say they're worried for their neighbors' well-being after a fire over the weekend damaged the building's elevators.

The building is a senior living facility and now residents say some people are virtually trapped in their homes.

Officials said the fire happened early Sunday around 1 a.m. on the 10th floor of the Episcopal House at 1440 Walnut Street in Allentown.

Residents say they were stunned by the news but happy no one was hurt.

"Thank goodness we have a sprinkling system so that helped," said a resident who did not wish to give her name.

Unfortunately some of the water poured down the elevator shaft damaging the entire system.

Monday, residents were still without elevators and for a 19-story building with 230 seniors, it's not an ideal situation.

"I do worry about my girlfriend up on the 15th floor. I know she can't make it down 'cause she has oxygen and she has a walker and I know she can't make it out," said Marilyn Leidel.

As to when the elevators will be fixed, executive director Miki Weaver says it will take one to two days.

She adds they're still waiting for parts because the fire happened over the holiday weekend.

In the meantime, those who are healthy enough to take the stairs will continue doing so, while others are checking to make sure their neighbors are alright.

"I'm just glad, knock on wood, that we all chipped in here. We all chipped in to help the tenants here, nobody was hurt...You can fix water damage but a life you can't," said Lloyd Mitchell.

Administrators said they'll also be checking on residents and updating them on the elevator situation.

Weaver said she hasn't been made aware of any emergency needs but adds they would contact the Allentown Fire Department should the situation arise.

Weaver added she also contacted the Red Cross but was told they were unable to assist since the circumstances are not dire and residents are with power.

Captain John Christopher said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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