Father Forced to Tear Down Daughter's Wheelchair Ramp

KAIMUKI (KHNL) -- A father's labor of love is dismantled. Now, two wheelchair-bound sisters are finding it difficult to get in and out of their Kaimuki home.

Twelve-year-old Etalynia trembles with fear, as she prepares to use a flimsy wheelchair ramp. It's the only way for her to get inside her home.

"This is absolutely unsafe," Robert Jahier, Etalynia's father, said as he helped her along.

Etalynia and her sister, 18-year-old Renisha, have motor, visual and speech impairments due to a genetic disorder. Their father built a solid, wooden walkway for them.

"We weren't trying to do anything illegal," he said. "We're just trying to get our kids in and out of our house."

He says the city forced him to tear it down by threatening a fine of $50 per day.

"We didn't have no city money to help build this," Jahier said. "But they sure want to take a lot from us away."

He says the city rejected the walkway because it didn't meet the 10-foot setback requirement.

"So I'd have to come back here, come over here, come over here, come over here," Jahier described how the structure would have to look. "And even if I came over here, I'd still be too high to come down."

Now, the walkway is in pieces. Jahier says he could try to get a variance. But he'd have to put up $1,200, which he says he can't afford.

"Our ramp, the way that it was, was not violating anybody's rights," he said. "It was physically appealing. It was physically sturdy. It was more than adequate with our needs. I'd just like to be able to put it back up."

A city spokesperson is looking into the case.