By Julie Watts

YUBA CITY (CBS13) – There are more questions about an out-of-order elevator that stranded seniors and people with disabilities three stories up. That elevator at a Yuba City complex is back in service.

We told you about Katy Willis, a quadriplegic who says she was stuck in her apartment for nearly a week. The state says the elevator failed an inspection back in May, but the elevator wasn’t pulled from service until last week. This begs the question: Were people using an unsafe elevator for months?

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Yes, people were using an elevator that had clear violations of the law. Let’s start with a timeline:

  • Cal OSHA tells us the elevator permit expired in February but they didn’t perform the renewal inspection until May when they found six violations.
  • In July, they issued a second notice to the complex reminding them to fix the issues.
  • When they hadn’t heard back by August, the state sent the owners and a red-tag notice.
  • They then physically red-tagged the elevator last week for “the owners’ failure to comply.” But the property manager tells us a different story.

Manager: “It’s not a failure to comply, the work was performed.”

Julie: “Well, this elevator was tagged for issues back in May.”

Manager: “It was not tagged. The issues were noted; it was allowed to operate, which it did. The items were repaired. Unfortunately, there was an additional item…”

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The manager insists inspectors found a new issue last week, which was the phone in the elevator not working. He says that’s why the state shut it down. But the state sent us evidence indicating the phone was one of many items flagged on this inspection report from May, which the state says still weren’t fixed last week.

According to the state, one of the most dangerous issues the residents faced was being trapped in the elevator with no way to call for help. That’s now been fixed, but there is still an $675 outstanding penalty that could result in another red tag if it’s not paid.

Julie Watts


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