A 3-year-old who was attending a wedding rehearsal at the Villa Barone Manor in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx fell 10 feet down an elevator shaft. Workers and concerned family members used a ladder to rescue the brave youngster who was alone down in the shaft. Thankfully, the toddler was not seriously injured and the hope is that the wedding will include the young participant as a ring bearer later this week. We get to the ‘how and why’ in this brief piece.
According to reports, the elevator, which comes up from the floor is employed during wedding ceremonies and catering functions. The 3-year-old girl apparently slipped through a gap between the floor and the elevator.
An elevator shaft is a passageway that permits an elevator to vertically move from floor to floor in a building. A gap between the floor and an elevator car typically yields stories of people dropping possessions, like keys, or perhaps money, into the gap and down into the shaft. The gaps are supposed to be trivial and certainly not wide enough for a person to fall into. Designers specifically focus on minimizing the gap so it is a small as possible. Gaps should ideally be less than 3 inches and no more than 5 inches. A child can fit through a gap if the space is too large and not compliant with safety regulations. The consequences can be deadly. Serious injury or death can occur. Elevators can be equipped with safety mechanisms like space guards, special flush hoistway doors or light curtains. Each of these features help reduce gaps that can cause a child to fall through.
It is not clear whether this accident and the facilities at Villa Barone are being investigated by city agencies. Hopefully the press attention will inspire a vigorous investigation into the conditions that led to this accident. This should serve as a call to arms to make sure that this condition is remedied.
While it appears that this child was fortunate enough to avoid a serious injury, shame on Villa Barone for allowing this peril filled condition to exist. A facility that hosts hundreds and hundreds of people each week should know better. We hope that this near tragedy illuminates the importance of elevator safety to the management at this catering hall. The next time they may not be so lucky.
Block O’Toole & Murphy is a law firm that has built a reputation on fighting for victims of serious elevator accidents. The firm has amassed nearly $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for their clients. You can learn more about the firm by reviewing their website or contacting them now for free consultation at 212-736-5300.