Safety and OSHA News

2 construction workers rescued from drowning … in an elevator

New York City Fire Department Capt. James Melvin says he’s never witnessed anything like this in his 34-year career: the rescue of two construction workers from neck-high water in an elevator.

The two workers, Edward Tyler and Windell Admaker, were working in the former Staten Island Hotel which was being renovated into an assisted-living residence.

They were riding an the elevator, but when it reached the floor they wanted, the door wouldn’t open. They tried other floors and eventually decided to send the car to the basement hoping it would open there.

But the two workers didn’t know heavy rain that day had led to severe flooding in the basement. When the elevator neared the basement level, it hit the water and started sinking to the bottom of the shaft.

Water started to fill the elevator car.

The two men were alone in the building, so they used a cell phone to call the fire department.

When firefighters found them about an hour after the call, the two men were standing on top of a plastic cart they had in the elevator, and the water was up to their necks, just three feet from the top of the car.

Neither worker was injured.

Not a bad idea to make sure employees working alone or in small groups have a cell phone so they can call in case of an emergency.

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