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Courthouse elevators may have to be replaced

Trapped in broken elevators!

ABC-7 with the story of a woman who says she was stuck inside one at the El Paso County Courthouse for hours last week.

It was a letter to the El Paso times that led ABC-7 to this story. A Central El Paso woman wrote she was stuck on a courthouse elevator last Friday. So ABC-7 asked if others have also had issues there.

“There was some elevators that were working and some that weren’t,” said Antonio Tarango, who pointed out it happens all the time at the El Paso County Courthouse.

The letter to the El Paso Times was headlined “Elevator scare points to serious issue.”

“While making a delivery to the courthouse on Friday, the elevator I was riding in stalled on the seventh floor,” Central El Pasoan Susan Ramirez wrote. “After spending two hours in the elevator, somehow the sister of the gentleman riding with me got through to his cell phone and she saved us by calling security … What if it had been an actual emergency?”

A woman who works at the courthouse told ABC-7 that several months ago a County staffer was also trapped in a courthouse elevator.

“These are old elevators,” County Public Works Director Pat Adauto said. “They have not been replaced since the building was built.”

Adauto said she is well aware of the elevator issues in the 28-year-old building. She said they do annual maintenance with capital funding, but admitted the old elevators need to be replaced.

“The replacement cost is nearing $2 million and the County doesn’t have that amount of money to do a complete replacement,” Adauto said.

She added that she has requested information from Thyssen Krupp, the company that has maintenanced courthouse elevators since 2002.

“Depending on what we get in those reports, I’ll be able to program if we’re talking about full replacement,” Adauto said. “If we are not at the point, we are near the point of possibly a full replacement.”

Thyssen Krupp would not provide breakdown numbers to ABC-7, but indicated in a statement the elevators have passed inspection.

Adauto told ABC-7 the same elevator that got stuck Friday, got stuck again this Wednesday morning. She said it could take a bond election to replace them.

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