Man trapped in flats he built 40 years ago

Paul Cairns (centre) was unable to leave his partner Daniella's (right) flat for days. Pictured with fellow Cambourne Court resident Shireen Hannam (left). Picture: Kate Shemilt
Paul Cairns (centre) was unable to leave his partner Daniella's (right) flat for days. Pictured with fellow Cambourne Court resident Shireen Hannam (left). Picture: Kate Shemilt

A broken lift left a man trapped in the same block of flats he helped build nearly 40 years ago.

Paul Cairns, 61, went to Cambourne Court in Shelley Road on Friday to spend the day with his partner Daniella at her flat, but was not been able to leave until yesterday.

Paul said: “There’s people who can’t get down unless they can use the stairs.

“They have been trapped all this time in flats.”

Paul, who uses a mobility scooter to get around, was among those stuck in the building.

But after enquiries from the Herald the lift was fixed yesterday afternoon by Worthing Homes.

Paul said: “I can’t tackle the stairs anymore.

“If the fire alarm went off the fire bridage would be here immediately.

“Worthing Homes are just full of empty promises.

“A couple of months ago the lift was broken for six weeks.”

Paul was particularly concerned for elderly residents who could not get out to go into the town to get things they need: “They have not all got friends and relatives delivering medication to them.”

In a strange twist the building Paul was trapped in is one he helped build 39 years ago.

He worked as a labourer on the building site in 1978, beginning when it was just a piece of flat ground.

Paul said on Monday morning: “I don’t know what to do.

“I want to go home, that’s all I want to do.”

A spokesman for Worthing Homes said yesterday: “There are two lifts, one serves the evens floors and one the odds.

“On Friday evening our out of hours team received a call to say the odds lift had broken down, this has previously happened but not since May.

“Contractors were called out but could not gain access to the lift motor room. Arrangements are being made to ensure this is not an issue in the future.

“Although not ideal, residents who are able only have to use two sets of stairs to reach their homes as they can use the evens lift to get as close to their floor as possible.

“For those that have confirmed to us disabilities that prevent them using the stairs we provide assistance for things such as shopping.

“I can confirm the lift has now been fixed and serviced.”