Elevator halted in King Hall

Richard Tzul, News Managing Editor

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On Tuesday, an alarm began ringing in King Hall. The alarm originated from an elevator that was stuck with three people on board.

On the scene immediately after the ringing commenced was a campus police officer. He would press himself closely to the shut elevator doors on the second floor and ask if they were alright every few minutes.

“How you doing in there? Everything still okay?” he asked.

“Yeah!” multiple passengers responded.

The officer informed them the Los Angeles Fire Department was on the way. Four firefighters eventually arrived on the scene with three crowbar-like tools among other equipment.

“Where are the maintenance people?” asked one firefighter. At least one first responder kept inquiring about when the “elevator guy” was going to arrive.

At least one officer and firefighter continually asked the three young women on board to try to turn off the alarm via a switch on the button-control pad. They were unsuccessful.

As soon as the elevator technician arrived, the doors of the elevator came open after several minutes of the firefighters trying to get it open.

“C’mon out girls!” exclaimed one of the fire fighters. “Was that fun?”

The three passengers emerged nervously laughing and smiling, unharmed.

Ivonne Hipolito, one of the passengers on the elevator, explained the elevator was going slow at first. However, she said it felt like there was a sudden drop on the way up. The other two passengers, Karla Trabanino and Jocelyn Garcia, concurred they felt it.

In an instinctual reaction, one of the passengers activated the emergency switch, prompting the elevator to freeze.

The elevator technician explained the elevator was in good working condition.

The technician, who did not want to provide his name due to job security-related concerns, elaborated that the elevator in question had “hot oil,” which is normal during that time of day. Because of that, the lift was moving quicker than usual. An uneventful abrupt movement felt significantly more intense than it was for the passengers.

There’s a “phenomenon” where being in a small enclosed space can make movements feel more quick and intense. It’s a trick that amusement park rides use, he said. In activating the emergency switch, the passengers “basically trapped themselves,” as that caused the elevator to freeze.

When receiving this explanation, Hipolito said they would not have been aware of these logistics. The technician responded that modern elevators are designed to prevent these sorts of situations. Instead of a switch, the function is activated via a key.

Elevators are like vehicles, so long as they’re maintained, they’re in working condition, said the technician when asked by the UT if the elevator in question was outdated.

He assured this elevator was in good condition.

Correction:

An Instagram story from the UT earlier said the elevator “malfunctioned.” We have not uncovered evidence of that and the technician told the UT the elevator is in working condition.