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Nearly two dozen injured in Chelsea elevator drop

May 18, 2011 2:18:20 PM PDT
An elevator suddenly dropped three floors in a Chelsea building Wednesday morning, injuring nearly two dozen people inside.

The elevator, full of construction workers on their way to a job, fell inside a building on West 19th Street just after 7 a.m.

One of the victims said that once the elevator started to drop, he felt like he was on an amusement park ride. Only this ride had a much harder landing. He is thankful and amazed that no one was seriously hurt or killed.

"They just said it just came down," FDNY Deputy Chief Jackie Sullivan said. "Just came down without warning."

Fire trucks and ambulences crowded the street after the freight elevator suddenly fell from the 4th floor.

"We had a total of 22 injuries," Sullivan said. "Nine of them required to be immobilized and transported to area hospitals."

The remaining 13 patients did not need to be immobilized. They, however, still went Bellevue Hospital for further evaluation.

Sullivan says paramedics were most concerned about neck and back injuries, but many who were hurt complained of less serious knee and arm pain and other minor problems. With the victims taken care of, the focus turned to the investigation.

The Buildings Department found that the frieght elevator was illegally being used as a passenger elevator and its brake was defective, causing it not to work properly.

Officials issued a cease-use order, ordering the elevator immediately out of service. They also issued a violation to the building's owner for failing to maintain the elevator and illegally using the freight elevator for passengers.


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