Man trapped in 2 separate elevators on same night

Feb 6 2012 - 6:50pm

CHICAGO -- City officials were inspecting the elevators of a downtown Chicago high-rise condominium building Monday after one man was trapped in two separate cars on the same night.

Firefighters were called to The Park Monroe Condominiums shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday after an elevator stalled between the 21st and 22nd floors with a man aboard, said Chief Kevin McGregor.

A firefighter went up in an elevator in an adjoining shaft, exited through the ceiling hatch to the stalled elevator and got the stranded man in to the second elevator.

Then that elevator stalled, leading to another rescue effort, McGregor said.

"We were working late at night in a dark elevator shaft -- it was dangerous work," McGregor said.

Firefighters considered breaking through a brick wall to enter the elevator shaft and then using ropes to haul both men to safety. But an engineer with Otis Elevator Co. was able to reset the elevator switch from the roof, enabling the elevator cars to be operated manually, McGregor said.

The man and the firefighter both made it to the ground floor without further incident. In total, the man had been trapped for more than three hours.

According to McGregor, the elevators appeared to suffer an electrical problem. The city's building department was still looking into the cause on Monday, a spokeswoman said.

A Park Monroe resident who declined to give his name said the trapped man was a friend of his who was visiting. Reached Monday, the man identified by the resident said he was stuck for about three hours the first time, and two hours the second. He declined to confirm his name or give further details.

Park Monroe management could not be reached for comment. The building passed annual elevator inspections in 2010 and 2011, according to Caroline Weisser, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Buildings.

(c)2012 the Chicago Tribune

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