One of three new elevators at the 71-Continental Aves subway station malfunctioned, trapping an elderly man inside for nearly half an hour at around 10:30 a.m. today. [Screenshot]
Even as you were probably reading this morning
about three new elevators that were finally put into operation by the MTA after years of work and delays, one of the trio broke at around 10:30 a.m., trapping an elderly man inside and prompting FDNY response.
Stephen Melnick, treasurer of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, saw the firemen outside of the elevator at around 11 a.m. and took a photo for Facebook.
“I happened to be passing by just as the elderly man was freed from the elevator. He walked away like nothing happened,” Melnick said in a Facebook message. “FDNY had to pry the door open. According to a bank manager [at the NY Community Bank branch], people saw the man trying to get out. The manager hit the emergency button on the outside.”
Melnick reports that he was told the FDNY arrived in short order, and that the man was led out after about a half hour of being trapped inside.
Costing a total of $24.7 million at the end of the day, the project was initiated by the MTA in 2011, but when Hurricane Sandy struck the agency had to pull workers away from improvement projects, causing several delays in completion. Servicing roughly 30,000 straphangers per day, the station is the fifth-busiest in the borough, and until yesterday, the closest subway elevators were at the Union Turnpike station in Kew Gardens and the Roosevelt Avenue stop in Jackson Heights.
While an MTA representative said that details will not be available as to what caused the incident until Monday, the agency expects the broken elevator should be repaired and back in service by Sunday night or Monday morning.
“FDNY told me that there was a piece of equipment that was loose and dangling from the top of the elevator,” Melnick reports. “What concerns me is that the FDNY could not contact anyone from MTA in order to have the power shut off. They ended up telling an MTA worker what had happened who was going to relay it to MTA management.”
The FDNY has not yet provided a statement on the incident.