Safety code violations reported at East Oakland senior facility

A senior living facility in East Oakland is under scrutiny by state and local inspectors as residents complain of bad living conditions.

Oakland fire inspectors and state officials with Cal OSHA flagged the building for safety issues this week.

The Oakland Station Senior apartment complex provides affordable housing for folks over the age of 62.

In East Oakland, 1428 105th Avenue stands six-stories tall, housing elderly folks with mobility issues, who use walkers and wheelchairs.

A large crowd of residents gathered on Friday afternoon when KTVU arrived at the property, asking to be interviewed and share their complaints.

Residents notified KTVU about the issues after the elevators in the building went out of commission Monday, and left the disabled and immobile residents without a way downstairs all week.

"I had to ask my son to go pick up my medicine because the elevators were out," said Shaaron Green-Peace, who has lived in the apartment building for three years. "You see, I’m in a power chair, so I can’t come and go as I please to come down to the mail room. I’m on the fifth floor, and I was stuck for four days."

The Oakland Fire Department put the building on Fire Watch on Wednesday, citing fire hazards and inadequate safeguards. The notice was pasted to the leasing office’s door, noting that OFD is requiring 24/7 monitoring by a fire watch officer on property and no candles can be used or flames allowed until the building "meets acceptable compliance."

OFD spokesperson Michael Hunt said a small fire on April 4th caused the sprinklers to go off, flooding the building. Two weeks later, residents said the water damage left the ceilings exposed.

"The damage was so bad, it went to the fourth floor and the third floor," said Rose Luster-Brooks, who lives on the third floor.

State inspectors shut down the elevators on Monday due to safety concerns after residents said a woman got stuck inside.

"She was stuck in there over an hour," said Green-Peace.

"They did not notify any of the residents," said Luster-Brooks.

CalOSHA told us in an email, "All three elevators were overdue for required safety testing, even after Cal/OSHA had granted a two-week extension."

Residents also complained about how often the fire alarms go off, sometimes for a false emergency.

"The alarm, it goes off constantly," said Green-Peace.

Luster-Brooks added, "The false alarms; We get a lot of that during the middle of the night and people come out of their buildings, out of the apartments, stand in the streets, until the fire department comes and then it’s a false alarms."

Hunt said their nearest firehouse gets dispatched to the building often and at all hours of the day for medical emergencies. 

Early Wednesday morning, Oakland firefighters responded to a medical emergency at the building. Hunt said when they got there, the elevators were not working and crews were forced to carry the disabled patient down six flights of stairs.

Hunt said, "Our concern is wide-ranging. These fire code violations are extremely serious and we hope that the building managers understand the urgency of correcting the deficiencies as soon as possible."

He went on to highlight the non-operational elevators, "Emergency medical care and transport will likely be delayed and many senior members in this building are not well enough to climb up and down multiple flights of stairs to get out for basic needs such as medical appointments or even shopping."

Residents said they want management to do the right thing.

"That’s all we want, is somebody to hear us," said Luster-Brooks.

"I want to see that the building is taken care of the way that these seniors need it to be," said Jerome Senegal, whose wife lives in the building.

Green-Peace said the elevators were working on and off on Friday, as OSHA confirms a technician was scheduled to work on them.

A spokesperson with OSHA said they will lift the order not to use the elevators as soon as the elevators pass their safety tests. 

KTVU tried to speak with someone at the leasing office and reached out to the property management company, Conam, but they did not immediately respond to request for comment.