Wheelchair-bound resident recounts power outage ordeal

Wheelchair-bound Bruni Sandoval was one of the D.C. residents who suffered through a two-day power outage in the middle of this week’s heat wave.

Sandoval had to be taken to the hospital. Her specialized wheelchair was left behind, so when she was discharged from the hospital, she was stranded.

Paramedics brought Sandoval back to Tyler House Thursday. The 47-year-old said the past two days have been harrowing.

Sandoval was admitted for high blood pressure at Providence Hospital. The quadraplegic was discharged some 15 hours earlier, but unable to leave without her 300-pound, custom built wheelchair.

Firefighters used their own wheelchair to get her out of her apartment, where she says the temperature was 112 degrees.

As long as the power was out, the two sisters say they had nowhere to go. City officials tasked with taking care of the disabled during the heat emergency say they thought the hospital trumps all other options when it comes to waiting out the outage.

“When it was time for her to be released, this facility did not have power … so we made the determination and had a conversation with the hospital to ensure that she could stay at the facility until she was able to be released into her own home,” said Milicent West, the director of D.C. emergency management agency.

In addition to her disability, Sandoval has many special needs.

“She is not sick, she doesn't need to be in the hospital, but she doesn't have any place to go because she doesn't have any light or the elevator isn't working and it's like 80 steps to get upstairs,” said Anna Sandoval, who takes care of her sister.

Officials say now that the power is back on and they have confidence it's here to stay, they will be working with Sandoval to ensure she has all her medications and food available.