Firefighters rescue person trapped in elevator at Norwalk church

Zoe Greszler • Updated Apr 2, 2018 at 11:07 AM

A person was trapped in an elevator inside of a Norwalk church Thursday after systems malfunctioned, requiring a rescue by firefighters.

The Norwalk Fire Department received a call from a landline phone about a victim trapped in a stalled elevator at The Chapel on South Norwalk Road at about 9:17 p.m.

The victim was closer to the second floor when firefighters arrived, Fire Lt. Charles Hillman said.

“We tried to move (the elevator) down again with the button,” Hillman said, noting that’s always the first thing they check. “It moved a little, but at that point, it didn’t come down all the way.”

Firefighters then attempted to use a special elevator key in the safety mechanisms of the exterior doors, but the mechanisms “weren’t lined up.” To fix that, the first responders tried to “drift” the elevator. 

“Drifting the elevator, that means basically it takes the hydraulic pressure off the elevator to allow the safety mechanisms to line up, but it wasn’t lifting up either,” Hillman said.

According to the fire report, a crew also attempted to move the gears that control the door to open it from above. However, that proved to be unsuccessful as well.

After exhausting their other options, the firemen had to pull the victim out though the top of the elevator by opening the top hatch and dropping an attic ladder down to them.

Hillman said, though, that the victim remained calm throughout the ordeal and no injuries were reported. Firefighters completed the rescue in about half an hour. 

Hillman estimated there are about three or four elevator entrapments per year in this area. In most of those cases, it’s a matter of hitting an on/off switch to “reset the electronics.” 

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