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Statehouse hazards

Tuesday, Apr 1, 2014

* Man, what a nightmare….

More than two dozen tourists were stuck in an elevator Sunday in the Illinois State Capitol building. […]

“There were like 25 or 30 people. It was very uncomfortable. Everybody was packed together,” said Pamela Ruzich, a who was visiting the Capitol from Ozark, Illinois. “And just as the elevator took off, there was a loud pop.”

Wait. 25 or 30 people? How the heck did they even squeeze that many people on? The elevators have a weight limit of 5,000 pounds, on a good day, and as many of us know, they don’t often have good days.

* It gets weirder

With no cell phone signal, that left the tour guide to call for help. She picked up the in-elevator phone line, but according to protocol, she is supposed to call the elevator company, rather than the fire department to rescue them from inside the elevator.

“Repeatedly we asked them to call 911 and we were repeatedly told, ‘that’s against our protocol, we’re not doing that,’ and with no cell phone signal, that left us completely helpless,” said Lence.

After about 45 minutes, they took matters into their own hands.

“One of the men finally pried the elevator door open. Someone put their phone into the shaft so we could get signal, and we called the fire department ourselves,” said Lence.

They aren’t allowed to call the fire department? Sheesh.

The fire department responded in a few minutes. All was well and it turns out that actor Jesse Spencer, from the “Chicago Fire” TV show was one of the trapped elevator riders. He took photos with his fellow passengers.

Whew. I kinda feel like Sneed after writing that sentence.

* The incident is prompting a policy evaluation

A spokesman for the secretary of state’s office says current policy prohibiting Statehouse tour guides from calling the fire department in the event of elevator troubles is being reviewed.

Dave Druker said Monday that representatives of the firm contracted to service Capitol building elevators have been notified that they should have arrived sooner when a tour guide called from a stalled elevator with 25 people on board late Sunday morning. […]

Asked why it’s Capitol policy to notify the elevator service firm and not the fire department, Druker said the state “has a contract with the firm that does work on the elevators, and I think they didn’t arrive as quickly as we’d hoped.”

He apologized for the incident.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


19 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    I’d never get in an elevator with that many people. Too much of a downside.

    I’ll wait for the next one. Or, better yet, take the stairs.


  2. - Norseman - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    I’m with Rich, I find it hard to imagine 25 or 30 people fitting in one of those elevators. Maybe the tourists saw the actor and shoved themselves in to be close to the celebrity. Also, you have a celebrity walking with an ordinary tour group. I’m impressed.


  3. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    25 to 30 people on the elevator? No wonder it stalled.


  4. - John A Logan - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    What in the world? This is crazy…


  5. - roscoe tom - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    The logic of the protocol extended. Your house is on fire so should you call your, lawn service first or your mortqage company first. What idiocy! What if something was wrong with someone on the stalled elevator. Jesse, thsi si the state capitol not the old cabrini green.


  6. - Responsa - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    ==Asked why it’s Capitol policy to notify the elevator service firm and not the fire department, Druker said the state “has a contract with the firm that does work on the elevators==

    Yeah, way too many people in the cab. But let’s not lose sight of the real issue here–the “contract” protocol that removed all common sense and safety consideration from the equation. Nobody ever foresaw that inserting a middleman into a potential emergency situation was a bum idea?


  7. - OneMan - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    To truly be Sneed on this you would need a Burke involved in some way.

    Get it, forget it…

    Also happy Cheap Trick day…


  8. - Norseman - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    The Capitol - I always disliked the term State House - is more hazardous than many folks realize. You have pigeons bombarding the entrances. Pieces of the ceiling have fallen on desks and the floor. There is flooding. People have been injured by a falling elevator. The worst problem is all the folks that have upper limb problems from all the arm twisting going on in the building.

    There ought to be a law requiring hard hats and body armor.


  9. - Pete - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    Maybe instead of putting in pretty doors the state should have considered a new elevator.

    Too many politicians worry about what’s on the outside and not enough about what’s on the inside.


  10. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    ===putting in pretty doors===

    Have you seen those copper doors lately? Not so pretty any more.


  11. - Smoggie - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    Here’s my rule for getting on an elevator — how would I feel tucked in this tight if it got stuck?

    We see it here in Chicago at the Daley Center often. People are in a rush to get to court.

    One note on elevator safety — most conventional elevators are pretty safe.

    The problems arise in smaller buildings where you have hydraulic elevators. The safety features on those can be weak.

    Overall, I would rather be trapped 20 stories up in a conventional elevator than three stories up in a hydraulic.


  12. - Urban Girl - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    It is all about money, as with most things. Buildings contract with their elevator companies because they may be charged if the fire department comes out.


  13. - MyTwoCents - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    Unless the elevator company had a crew just a few blocks down the street ready to respond 24/7 that’s a crazy policy. Why make those people wait all that time when the fire department is so close as is?


  14. - Raymond - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    === It is all about money, as with most things. Buildings contract with their elevator companies because they may be charged if the fire department comes out. ===

    That may be the rationale for calling the contractor before dialing 911, but that’s just crazy. This is the Capitol, for crying out loud, and public safety should trump all other considerations - it certainly should trump some goofy protocol with an elevator contractor.

    If they seriously had 25 to 30 people stuck in an elevator (mind boggling to think they stuffed that many people in there), it’s not unreasonable to think somebody may have been at serious risk of a panic attack or worse.


  15. - Chicago Fire - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 3:51 pm:

    I have watched Lt. Casey do dozens of Elevator rescues in Chicago? I mean at least one every other week. If he didn’t save everybody, by himself? I now wonder if the show might be fake?


  16. - Anon - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 4:16 pm:

    Hopefully, Madigan and Rutherford will get stuck on Capitol elevators for 45 minutes. That might give them time to read some reports…


  17. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 4:32 pm:

    Could’ve been worse. Quinn could’ve been in it and started talking.


  18. - Laurie Stengler - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 5:21 pm:

    I think we’re likely to see some of this on a future episode of Chicago Fire. I’m sure it wasn’t fun but would be great material for the show. They just might make a point and that sounds like a good thing to me.


  19. - mikroC PRO for dsPIC serial - Thursday, Apr 3, 14 @ 6:28 am:

    Many thanks for some other beneficial site. The spot more may possibly I get that will style of information and facts developed in such an suitable approach? I have a task that I’m purely currently managing in, and i have been in the looks available to get such information.


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