Elevator traps 11 people 6 hours in deserted building 11 people trapped 6 hours in elevator in office building

November 27, 1992|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Staff Writer

Eleven people were trapped more than six hours in an elevator in a downtown office building before being rescued this morning by city firefighters.

The firefighters broke into the Sterling Bank and Trust Building at 111 Water St. shortly after 1 a.m., opened the elevator doors and helped the occupants onto the fourth floor.

According to Central District police, James White, 53, owner of a tailoring service on the fourth floor of the building, had invited 10 visiting friends from Philadelphia to tour his business.

The group of seven women and four men entered the elevator about 6:40 p.m. The elevator became stuck just below the fourth floor floor and wouldn't budge, despite several pushes on the buttons.

Police said one of the people immediately tried using the emergency telephone to report the situation, but received no answer.

The trapped people banged on the elevator's walls but never got a response, police said.

The building, which contains the Venezuelan Consulate, a printing firm, a financial firm, a business consulting company and other offices, was closed because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Police said the people began to wonder whether they would ever be rescued.

But some 6 1/2 hours after the elevator became stuck, the police and fire departments received a call from the C & P Telephone Co. reporting that several people had been trapped in the building for several hours. It was not known how the phone

company learned of the emergency.

Police said the firefighters had to break the front door of the four-story building.

From the lobby, they walked up four flights of stairs.

Using one of several emergency elevator keys, a member of Rescue 1 opened the elevator door.

Out came 11 very grateful and shaken people, police said.

From the fourth floor, the passengers were escorted down the stairs and into the fresh air.

The people declined to go to the hospital and said they just wanted to go home.

After comforting each other and thanking their rescuers, the 10 guests got into their cars and returned to their homes in Philadelphia, police said.

Mr. White returned to his home on Remoor Road in Woodmoor, Baltimore County.

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