Jumping passengers listed as official cause for stuck elevator at RECC

Some parents say kids were not jumping

Published on February 4, 2014
Six kids were trapped inside this elevator at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre on Sunday.
FILE

TRURO – The official cause for an elevator getting stuck at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre (RECC) Sunday night was the result of jumping activity taking place inside the passenger car, a spokesperson says.

“When the mechanic arrived from the elevator company, he determined that the governor safety switch had been tripped,” said RECC executive assistant Tanya Fifield.

“He said that indicated to him that passengers in the car had been jumping. So that came directly from the mechanic from the elevator company. And I actually do have that written in an incident report.”

About a half dozen children aged between 5 and 12 were trapped in the RECC’s elevator for approximately one-and-a-half hours during a hockey game at the civic centre on Sunday.

The initial story on the incident, published in Tuesday’s Truro Daily News, prompted response from the mothers of two of the involved children, who both took offence to comments from general manager Jim Lambert that jumping activity had caused the elevator to get stuck.

“I am disheartened at the fact that this article is so misleading and portrays my son and these other children as a bunch of bad kids, all of which are not,” one mother wrote in an email.

Another mother wrote that she was “just sick about the article…”, especially, she said, given that her 11-year-old daughter and other kids “swear no one was jumping.

“I know they should not be playing in the elevator but come on, two different security guards told me it’s happened three times this season.”

“These kids were scared and sweating and so red when they got out,” she said. “The 5 year old was hysterical and peed his pants because he couldn't hold it anymore. The security guards didn't care about them at all and didn't look for any of the parents.”

When presented with that information, Fifield said there has been one previous incident reported last summer about an elevator being stuck at the centre, but as with the last incident, “the first one was a similar situation,” she said. “They said the governor safety switch had been tripped.”

“There have been no other incidents recorded of issues with the elevator.”

Fifield said that as soon as the RECC’s operator received word about the situation, a call was immediately placed to the elevator company, at which point the centre was informed it would take 90 minutes for a mechanic to arrive.

A call was then placed to the Truro fire department, which responded immediately, she said.

“Once the fire department is on site, it is no longer in our hands. The fire department takes control.”

And Fifield said that by the time the centre’s operator was notified of the situation, some parents had already arrived at the scene.

“My understanding is, and based on what we can see on camera, there were already parents present from pretty much the beginning onward.”

And while there is some “discrepancy” around how long the lift was actually stuck, Fifield said, the information she has indicates it was from between 70 and 90 minutes.

She also emphasized that the situation is not being treated lightly and that a review of the elevator malfunction  “was already in process” although “nothing had been finalized.”

“The RECC does care about the community and those who come to use this facility,” Fifield said.  “And safety is foremost for us.”

hsullivan@trurodaily.com