I live in an apartment building for seniors. It is a requirement that residents must be able to care for themselves.
Across the hall and two doors down there is an elderly woman who lives alone. She is an alcoholic.
In the 5 years since I have been living here there have been numerous incidents where she gets drunk, puts something on the stove and passes out.
Yesterday I had to call the police again because we could smell something burning coming from her apartment. It hadn't gotten bad enough to set off the fire alarm. When the firemen arrived she failed to answer the door and they had to break the lock to get in. The fire wasn't bad enough for smoke to billow out once the door was opened but the smell was strong enough for the firemen to have to come out a couple of times for air. The woman walked out of the apartment needing to hold on to the wall for support. The firemen said they could smell alcohol on her breath. Initially they said she was unresponsive to them and she refused any medical attention.
But there have been instances in the past when the fire was so bad it did set the alarms off. Once I watched the building caretaker run out of her apartment and bend over double choking from the smoke.
So we have an alcoholic senior that forgets when she puts something on the store and has started numerous fires requiring numerous calls to the Fire Dept.
Since smoke kills far faster than fire she is putting herself at high risk of an accidental death.
She is also putting the other residents in danger. The man directly across from her is in a wheelchair. So am I although if there was a fire I'd be going down those stairs on my butt if I had to. The fellow across from her could not do that. The woman in the apartment could not get herself down the 5 flights of stairs either. There is also an elderly man who is recovering from a stroke and lives at one end of the floor and another woman who is bedridden at the other end of the floor. We could all be trapped up here with a fire.
Now. . . . I live in a city where it is next to impossible to have people evicted. I feel bad for her but she is going to kill herself at this rate. And perhaps take a few of us along with her.
I thought of the idea of a petition but one person in the building said that Russian people (most of these grew up in a communist Russia where putting your name on something could mean the death penalty) are really reluctant to get involved especially if it means signing their names.
Can anyone think of a legal alternative to signing their names on a petition?
Is there any other way that you might know to get this woman out of the building and into a supervised housing set-up?
Any ideas would be appreciated.