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YSU elevator accident triggers probe



Published: Sun, September 12, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

Questions raised on response time at YSU

By ED RUNYAN

runyan@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A freshman resident of Youngstown State University’s Kilcawley House said she tried in vain for 30 minutes to get help for her roommate and 11 other YSU students after an overloaded elevator fell about five floors into the dormitory’s basement Friday evening.

“I heard the snap, and I heard the crash,” Brandi Juncewicz said of the 6:30 p.m. accident. “I could hear them crying and screaming for help.”

Juncewicz was on the third floor when she heard the elevator fall. She went to the first floor to tell two employees at the front desk what happened, but they apparently thought she was kidding, Juncewicz said.

“I said ‘No, I’m completely serious,’” Juncewicz said.

She made it to the basement at about the same time that a YSU security guard got there — around 30 minutes later, she said. She didn’t have a key to get into the basement on her own, Juncewicz said.

“My roommate said it felt like three hours. She couldn’t believe it took so long,” said Juncewicz, a criminal-justice major from Marysville.

Ron Cole, a YSU spokesman, said the response time from the YSU Police Department to the first call it received was two minutes. Cole said he doesn’t know whether there was a delay in calling YSU police.

Cole said the preliminary investigation indicates the elevator didn’t free-fall because two braking systems were engaged, “which significantly decreased the speed of the drop.”

He added, “Thankfully, they slowed down the elevator to the point where we didn’t have any serious injuries.”

Cole said all 10 students who went to St. Elizabeth Health Center for treatment were released the same evening.

Capt. Ron Russo of the Youngstown Fire Department, which responded to the accident, said the elevator was overloaded with students.

Juncewicz said she believes there were 12 students in the elevator car, which has about five to six square feet.

“I said it was kind of their fault,” Juncewicz said she told her roommate of overloading the elevator. She believes the students were going somewhere to eat together, but she doesn’t believe the students would have tried to damage the elevator on purpose.

“People don’t jump in the elevator. They know it’s old,” she said.

Juncewicz’ roommate told her the elevator was on its way up from the fourth floor when it “lurched,” then went half-way up to the fifth floor. The lights in the elevator flickered, smoke came through the vents and then the elevator went down, she said.

When Juncewicz got to the basement, she said one girl was still on the floor of the elevator car, unable to get up. Others had sprained ankles and pulled muscles, Juncewicz said.

She added that the Kilcawley House elevator has not worked very well since she began living there in recent weeks.

“It lurched on me a week ago,” she said, adding that another student who lived there last year told her the elevator “routinely stuck” last year.

Dr. Cynthia Anderson, YSU president, said the Otis Elevator Co. came to investigate the accident Friday and continued its work on Saturday.

Cole said the elevator is shut down, and the state elevator inspector will arrive Monday to determine what caused the accident and what needs to be done to repair it.

He added that the elevator was recently inspected and it had no history of “problems out of the ordinary.”

Contrary to comments he’s heard, there is no indication that the elevator ever fell like this before, Cole said.

The YSU Police Department said Saturday that the police report on the accident was not complete and won’t be available to the public until Monday.

A call to the public relations department for Otis Elevator Co. Saturday was not returned.


Comments

1SarahB1(6 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Boy, this story brings back memories!

I had a similar experience in a dorm elevator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison when I was a student there in the late 1970s. We overloaded the elevator when everybody was rushing to get to final exams. The darn thing flew right past floors, 5-4-3-2-1-basement, and stopped when it hit the concrete about three or four feet below the basement floor. There was a loud grating noise, the lights went off and we all bounced up a couple of feet before crashing back down to the elevator floor.

I don't recall anyone being injured beyond a few bruises, but I do recall us screaming and banging on the car doors for somebody to get us out of there. We also heard lots of laughing outside that elevator car.

Funny thing was, most of us could care less about the injuries. We just wanted to get to our final exams on time. If you were late, you often found the lecture hall doors locked. In other words, you were out of luck and in real danger of failing a class.

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2TB(1167 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Let's see what Otis has to say about this.

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3Joe306tow(49 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This is Why Elevators have signs that state the MAXIMUM occupancy!

Duh, if you can't read Blame Strickland the Education Governor.

Of course, if the claims here hold true and their was problems in the past, then time for heads to roll! Start with the University President and work down.

Why start with the little guy and let the BIG SMUCK get away.

What was for Dinner? Oh yea, Co-Eds in a Can! lol

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4L0L(640 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like YSU doesnt mind taking more and more of students tuition money without putting back into the school. When I went there years ago the place was getting delapidated.

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5Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

OMG it must be the Unions fault or that is what I heard on FOX

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6welc04(4 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Same thing happened at OSU in a residence hall last year. Students overloading the elevator, not paying attention to maximum capacity.

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7Nunya(1356 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

@ welc04

Try re-framing that lie again,.. http://www.vindy.com/news/2010/sep/10...

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8bartender123(27 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

YSU will cover-up the whole mess. Gocala and Hyden will do whatever it takes to protect Dr. A and YSU.

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9Tjay(8 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

@ Joe306tow:

Pretty ironic that the guy who slams "The Education Governor" can't make the right choice among "there/their/they're," writes "their was problems," can't spell "schmuck" and inserts random pointless initial capital letters in his post!

Ironic, but typical.

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10laterail(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

State 5 or 6 square feet.
That's only a 2 ft by 3 ft space
How can you get more then 2 in that space?
Or another case of the reporter not able to report correct and it was 5 to 6 feet square, a hugh difference.

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