(WSVN) - It seemed simple enough. Install a wheelchair ramp to help a disabled South Florida woman get in and out of her house. But there was nothing simple about it. The Nightteam’s Brian Entin investigates.
Inside this Miami Shores home, in a back bedroom, Nancy Aquilino has been stuck in her bed for four months.
Nancy Aquilino, needs wheelchair ramp: “I’m neglecting myself because I don’t have any access to get in and out of the house.”
For almost all of her life, Nancy was a very active woman.
She worked as a retail buyer in New York City, and she was a volunteer with Miami Shores Police mobile patrol.
But over the last year, her health took a turn for the worse, and she can’t put any weight on one of her legs.
Brian Entin: “Are you able to walk at all?”
Nancy Aquilino: “No. I can’t even stand on my own.”
Nancy has a wheelchair.
Her neighbor Manny checks on her and takes her to doctor appointments.
The problem is she needs a wheelchair ramp to get down these steps outside her front door.
Manny Duarte, neighbor: “Obviously, you know, a ramp would help her immensely. It would help me too, but mainly for her.”
But getting a ramp turned out to be much more difficult than Nancy ever could have imagined.
The first ramp company she hired back in January refunded her money when they realized how strict the Miami Shores approval process was to get the job done.
Nancy Aquilino: “They came back to me and they said, ‘What your Village is asking for, we can’t handle. We’ve never heard of the laws that they’re talking about.'”
So Nancy paid $4,500 to a contractor, who hired an architect to work up these detailed drawings.
And she paid another $5,800 dollars for a ramp.
The contractor says the Village required a full concrete foundation under the ramp, but the contractor and the ramp company could not agree whose job it was to put the concrete in.
Months went by, and still no ramp.
Nancy Aquilino: “I try and do everything legal, and I still get in a mess!”
Brian Entin: “Nancy spent more than $10,000 on a ramp that she still didn’t have. The contractor and the ramp company were blaming each other for the problems, so we started calling Miami Shores’ Building Department, and things started happening faster.”
The Village agreed to no longer require the full concrete foundation, so that problem was solved.
We watched as a crew built the ramp, but it was too big.
It jutted out into Nancy’s driveway.
After all that work, the ramp was removed.
Nancy Aquilino: “I said, ‘In the meantime, I have no ramp. I’m stuck in the bed.’ I’m sorry.”
But finally, some good news.
After all the confusion, the Village agreed to approve a smaller ramp.
Nine months after applying for the original permit, the new ramp was installed.
Nancy Aquilino: “Oh, the great outdoors. I went from a prison to paradise. This is unbelievable.”
After so much time and frustration, Nancy can put the ramp saga behind her and now focus on her health.
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