1 tiny generator: Seniors living in Highland Park apartment building left without power

Posted at 10:07 PM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 23:35:33-04

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — A Highland Park apartment building filled with senior citizens is without power and a working generator.

Residents say the lights went out after a storm blew through around 6 p.m. Monday.

Many of the tenants live with disabilities and have health problems. City leaders say the situation is unacceptable.

The East Buena Vista apartment building has seven floors and no working elevator. One man told 7 Action News that his brother can't walk, so he's stuck in his unit.

They have one tiny generator that can only power the first floor. Some of these residents have nowhere else to go.

"I couldn't plug my oxygen machine up because we don't have electricity," said Carol Sawyer, who moved into the building last year.

Sawyer is not alone. Many of the seniors at East Buena Vista are medically fragile. They need power to stay well and a working elevator to get in and out.

"I am 70 years old, and I can't do steps like that," Sawyer said.

Word spread throughout the city that these residents were in need. Community members came through with food, water and ice.

"I think it really made the people here in East Buena Vista feel more secure about their situation, even though they don't really have control over it," said Maurice Turner, a candidate for Highland Park mayor.

Wayne County officials, including the sheriff's office, went to check out the area at around 9 p.m. after receiving several calls. They gave residents water and hope to bring portable lights to them soon.

According to residents, a small generator is currently providing power to the first floor.

The building is owned by Continental Management.

"The owners as well as management: put yourself in these people's position. How would you like it?" said Janice Walker, who has friends and family living in the building.

"How would you feel? You wouldn't like it, so they shouldn't have to put up with this," she added.

Highland Park Mayor Hubert Yopp says the city has a strained relationship with the management company. He plans to call the county health department to see if there's a history of complaints.

"(Address) 2 East Buena Vista has just been hard to get along with and we have to do something about that," said Yopp, "We can't let them keep getting away with that so right now, I have to get all the facts before I think about taking any action."

7 Action News reached out to management to see if they had a plan to house residents somewhere else while they wait for the power to come back on. They said they had no comment.

"Someone should have been out here by now. It is going to be dark pretty soon, so what do they want these people to do," Walker said. "We need some help for these people."

Yopp says he'll be contacting the Wayne County Health Department and Continental Management Wednesday.