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Maintenance history focus of investigation after woman dies in Manhattan elevator accident

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The New York City Department of Buildings is investigating the maintenance history of an elevator where a woman was killed in a tragic accident on Wednesday morning, learning the elevator was serviced just hours before.

41-year-old Suzanne Hart, Director of New Business Content & Experience at the advertising firm Y&R, was on her way to her office in the firm’s midtown Manhattan building at 285 Madison Avenue when a horrific elevator accident ended her life.

As Hart stepped one foot inside to board the elevator, it lurched upward with the doors open and crushed her between the elevator car and the wall of the shaft.

Transel Elevator Inc. maintains the thirteen elevators in the 26-story building.

“Workers from Transel were performing electrical maintenance work on the elevator involved in the accident hours before it malfunctioned,” Buildings Department spokesperson Tony Sclafani told The New York Daily News. “This work has now become the focus of our investigation.”

Sclafani said the department would obtain a client list and conduct inspections of all elevators maintained by Transel Elevator over the next few weeks.

The Buildings Department has cited building owner Young & Rubicam Inc. in the past for elevator problems. There were 14 open violations involving the elevators, but none for hazardous conditions. The agency last inspected the elevators in June and found no safety issues, reports The New York Times.

“Those of us who had the opportunity to work with her and even those who just shared a smile and (quite often) a laugh with her in the hallway will miss her dearly and deeply,” the Y&R website said. “Her loss will be felt for a long, long time.”

The Buildings Department closed the building for the week pending an investigation and they expect to reopen it on Monday.

2 Comments

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  1. Harry says:
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    that accident has nothing to do with maintenance tha kind of accident is 100 percent man made..Further more there is a reason why elevator mechanics arent liscenced politics…but trust me when i say union elevator mechanics are extremely inteligent..and years of schooling and on the job training..people have no idea they think fire fepartment rescues people from elevators and bulding engineer idiots repairman…and a rest button up stairs..Union elevator men are extremely professional years of safety training..

  2. Joyce Sullivan says:
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    I feel so sorry what happen to her, and my heart goes out to her family. How can you understand something like that, and who do you look at to blame for her death or was it a horrible freaky accident. Remember there were two 2 other persons on the elevator and they had to step on and they were OK. But why at that time Ms. Hart, was it a horrible freaky accident.