MANATEE — It took a little help from her friends and the Manatee County fire and EMS departments, but Joyce Morrison got a lift to her doctor’s appointment Tuesday morning.
The elevator in her five-story building at Bayshore on the Lake Condominium complex was out of order for an 11th straight day as the repair company awaited a pump component.
Meanwhile, Morrison, who has a broken leg, wondered how she would get her wheelchair from her fourth-floor condominium to make the appointment without the elevator.
Enter her friends. Husband Kyle and two male neighbors — one of whom has a pacemaker, she said — struggled to carry her down the four flights of stairs early Tuesday morning.
As they neared the sidewalk, Lisa Kalmbach, the fire liaison with the Manatee County Emergency Communications Center, arrived after reading Morrison’s story in the Bradenton Herald.
She told Morrison an EMS team would help her back up the stairs after her appointment.
For the return trip, a crew of county EMS workers and Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue personnel gave Morrison a ride on a stair chair, a device that transports a wheelchair up and down steep surfaces.
“It was terrific. I cannot say enough kind, good things about Manatee County’s fire department and EMS service,” Morrison said. “It was an unusual experience. But they were young and strong, and I had a lot of confidence in them.”
Bayshore on the Lake, just off 38th Avenue West, is a 55-and-older community. Some of Morrison’s neighbors have expressed concern about the lack of an elevator.
Capt. Larry Leinhauser, the spokesman for the county’s Department of Public Safety, discouraged residents from calling for help navigating the stairs unless it is an emergency. He said Tuesday’s call was a special circumstance.
“The plan we have is the plan we always have. If someone calls 911, we will respond. Our position is that we’re here for emergency response,” he said.
Leinhauser said the complex is not in violation of fire codes because the building does have stairs.
The elevator has been broken since Jan. 30, when a 28-year-old pump failed, according to a statement from Tampa-based Schindler Elevator Corp., which maintains the elevator.
The company sent a technician to Bayshore on the Lake on Feb. 1 and spent four days searching for a replacement core for what it called an obsolete pump. The replacement core is scheduled to arrive today.
“Depending on arrival time, Schindler will begin installation the same day or next,” the Schindler statement said. “Installation is expected to be completed in two days or less.”
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is responsible for elevator licensing. Alexis Lambert, a press secretary for the department, said a state inspector from Bradenton will visit Bayshore on the Lake this morning to find out why the elevator remains out of service and what the department can do to expedite the repair.
Lambert said the department has not received any complaints about the broken elevator.
She said Bayshore on the Lakes is not subject to a state statute that all buildings must have at least one working elevator because the elevator in question was installed in 1979, 11 years before the statute was passed.