Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Elevator and Escalator

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construction site where the elevator accident occurredA construction worker was found dead in an elevator on a New York construction site on Sunday morning.  The man was identified as 53-year-old Stephen Simpson, a native of Jamaica who previously served in the army and was currently working for Patriot Electric. The last time Simpson was seen alive was last Saturday afternoon at 3:00 pm. Simpson had just finished his shift at a construction site at 555 Ten, a 56-story Manhattan luxury condominium building located at West 41st Street and 10th Avenue. As he was about to leave the site with his co-workers he told them that he forgot some personal effects and had to go back inside to retrieve them.  That’s the last time he was seen alive.

A security guard found his body at 7:00 am on Sunday. His head was trapped between the elevator floor and the elevator door frame of the 5th floor.  Investigators believe that Simpson used the elevator and that while he was riding it, the building power was shut off by the crew leaving the site. Simpson got stuck inside the elevator. It is unclear why Simpson didn’t use his cell phone to call for help. Instead, he forced the elevator doors open. However as he was climbing out of the elevator, the cabin moved upward and crushed him against the door frame. Investigators don’t know yet if he died immediately as his body was only found the following morning.  His body is now at the City medical examiner’s office where they will determine the time and cause of the death.

Stephen Simpson was married to Crystal Simpson and they were supposed to celebrate their son’s birthday. He was supposed to take his son and his wife  to the store to buy a bicycle for his son. Stephen and Crystal were married for 10 years. His wife told the News “He loved our son to death and he’d get him anything, he’d do anything for him”.

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construction accident locationIt’s a miracle nobody was injured in a construction accident that occurred yesterday around noon on 58th street near Columbus Circle. Construction workers were moving material in an exterior elevator when it got jammed on the 17th floor. A large and heavy metallic ramp that connected the elevator to the building fell busy 58th street, prompting pedestrians to run for cover. The elevator contained a crate packed with 2 tons of glass window panels.

After the metallic ramp gave way, the crate was partially in the elevator and partially dangling outside creating a major danger  for cars and pedestrians below. The street had to be closed for several hours until the FDNY could figure out how to safely remove the heavy load of glass from its unsafe location.  The construction site is located at 217 W57th Street. It is the site of the Central Park Tower a super tall building being developed by Extell. This project is expected to be the largest sellout ever in City history with 20 of the condos priced over 60 million per unit.

Read more in DNA Info

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4 workers suffered minor injuries after being stuck in an elevator 200 feet below the Brooklyn Con Ed Plant. 3 of them were contractors and one of them was a Con Ed employee. Emergency responders received a call around 7:40 am this morning about workers being stuck in an underground elevator at the Hudson Avenue generating station in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn. The employees were 220 feet below ground when the elevator stopped abruptly. It took several hours for the FDNY to get down the shaft and rescue each man one after the other. Each worker was put in a harness and then pulled up the shaft by the firefighters.  All of them suffered minor injuries and were taken to the hospital to be treated.

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A construction worker suffered critical injury after he fell down an elevator shaft in NYC. The 42 year old man was an employee of Economy Elevator Inc. He was working on a construction site at 246 Johnson Ave in Brooklyn, NYC when he fell seven stories in the elevator shaft. Other workers who heard him scream came to the rescue and call the emergency medical workers. The workers was able to move his hands and his feet when the EMS put him on the stretcher. He was transported to the hospital in critical condition. According to DNA Info the worker was wearing a harness when he was found on the ground. However it is not clear if it was attached to anything at the time of the accident. Read more in DNA Info 

246 Johnson Ave is located at the corner of Bushwick Place near the Montrose L stop. In 2014 it was a one-story building that was bought by developer Moshe Silberstein. A residential building is now being constructed at this location. See below a picture of the building from Google map before development.

246 Johnson Ave

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3415 Neptune Ave street viewA baby girl died in an elevator accident in New York City on Thursday.  Her mother was also injured in the accident. She was expected to survive. Last  Thursday around 10:30 am, 21 year old Aber Al-Rabahi put her 6 month old daughter Areej Ali in her stroller and headed out of her apartment for a walk. Aber Al-Rabahi and her daughter called the elevator on the 23rd floor of of the Sea Rise, a residential building located at 3415 Neptune Avenue, in Coney Island, Brooklyn. As the elevator doors opened, the mother pushed the stroller inside and walked in without  realizing that the car was stuck 6 feet below. The mother landed on the top of her daughter on the roof of the elevator. The elevator fell down eight stories where the the mom and her daughter landed on the roof. A maintenance worker who heard the mother screaming ran to the rescue. The mother and the infant were both transported to the hospital. The infant was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The mother is expected to survive.

Neighbors told the NY Daily News that both elevators in the building were constantly having problems. On Wednesday night tenants complained that the elevator was not functioning proprely. A mechanic from Centennial Elevator Co. had arrived an hour before the accident. He was working on the elevator when the accident happened. Centennial Elevator has two open OSHA investigations . One of them is related to one of their employees who lost an arm  while repairing an elevator in New York City last May (see previous blog).

According to the Gothamist, this is the second time that someone was killed in an elevator accident at the Sea Rise Complex. In 1991, Chandler  Johnson bumped into the door of the same elevator. The door opened and Chandler fell to his death down the shaft. Since the young man died, there were 147 elevator violations in the building.

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La Reguera DominicanaA man died in a New York elevator accident on Saturday. Jose Fernandez, 43  from the Dominican Republic was a worker at the Discount Store La Reguera Dominicana on 182nd Street in Manhattan. The man was loading merchandise into the freight elevator in the basement when the accident happened. For some unknown reason, the freight elevator suddenly moved up and trapped his head. The Department of Buildings is investigating the cause of the accident.

The online property profile overview of the NYC Department of Buildings has no record for the elevator. The freight elevator which had no doors was installed illegally a year ago, without a permit when a previous auto repair shop was turned into a discount store.

The building has an open violation for illegal occupancy and last year 3 complaints were opened accusing the building owner of performing renovations without a valid work permit.

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5 people died and 51 were injured in elevator accidents in New York City  last year. Last year in October a man was crushed to death as he tried to escape an elevator at the Espoir Building in Brooklyn (see previous blog). Trying to escape a stalled elevator is not a good idea says the NYC Department of Buildings in a new advertising campaign  being launched today. The campaign entitled “Stay Safe. Stay Put.” is designed to remind New Yorkers that if  they are stuck in an elevator, the safest place to be is inside the car.

Every day millions of people use the 71,000 elevators  existing in New York City.  New York City elevators are relatively safe. The number of people  injured in an elevator accident in the city decreased from 105 in 2007 to 51 last year.

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50 BroadwayAn elevator worker was seriously injured in an elevator accident in New York. The man was working on an elevator in a building in downtown Manhattan when the accident happened. Witnesses said they heard the desperate man screaming for help. The man was working on a newly installed elevator at 50 Broadway in the Financial Distrcit. He was employed by  Centennial Elevator Industries. Firefighters who were called to the rescue were seen transporting the arm in ice in an attempt to preserve it. The worker was transported to the hospital in critical condition.  According to the Post doctors have been trying to reattach his arm.

Read more in the New York Post

Picture of the location of the accident courtesy of Google Map


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Park Slope Garage CondominiumA 4 year old boy died after falling in an elevator shaft inside a luxury NYC garage. According to the police, Jack Roberts slipped through a 10 inch gap between a freight elevator and the shaft at the Park Slope Garage Condominium in Brooklyn, NYC. For some unknown reason, the toddler and his parents were allowed to use a freight elevator that was meant for vehicles to get to the third floor of the garage. Other owners of parking spaces who learned about the elevator accident were in shock.  They said it was very unusual for the staff to allow anyone in the freight elevator.  Car owners usually pick up and drop their car in a designated area at the entrance of the garage. Then the staff takes care of taking them in and out of their respective parking spaces using the freight elevators.

After the accident happened, The Department of Buildings filed a complaint requesting an investigation.

The luxury garage was one the first “condominiums for cars” in New York State with more than 100 parking spaces. The actual price of a parking space there is estimated at $300,000.  The initial price for a parking space at the garage when it opened in 1986 was $29,000. At the time it was already considered a very high price. It went up over the years as Park Slope  developed into a trendy neighborhood.  It recently shot up after another similar condominium garage located nearby closed.

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A few days after a DOI investigation revealed that NYCHA knew about faulty elevators that killed a resident and injured another, the NYC Housing Authority announced that Ken Buny, the head of the elevator division was fired. Five NYCHA employees who failed to communicate that the elevators were malfunctioning were also reassigned. They are all facing disciplinary charges that could also result in firing. (Read more in the NY Daily News)

The investigation revealed that NYCHA knew about the faulty elevator before the fatal accident happened but because of a communications  breakdown nobody went to fix it.  On December 24 2015, the NYCHA’s Customer Contact Center (“CCC”) received a phone call from a resident at the  NYCHA’s Boston Road Plaza senior building in the Bronx to inform them about a very dangerous malfunctioning elevator. NYCHA didn’t take immediate action to put the elevator out of service. An hour and half  later, 84 year old Olegario Pabon was critically injured when the elevator drifted upward as he was trying to get in. He died 3 days later from his injuries.  The investigation also found that the NYCHA senior management learned about the accident four days later. Another man was seriously injured in a similar accident that happened in another NYCHA building less than a month before.

In both accidents, the DOI found that brake monitors that should have automatically shut down the elevators were not functioning. After this discovery the DOI checked the 1,080 NYCHA elevators equipped with brake monitors and found that 80 (more than 7%) of them were not functioning.