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Elevator overload causes student scare

By Marisa RussellSTAFF WRITER

Move-in weekend flew by and students were eager as they headed to the 13th floor of Vander Poel Hall to attend one of the first programs of the year. Before a group of students could make it to the program, they experienced something unexpected.

After the last person stepped into the elevator on the ninth floor, the elevator raised one floor and then proceeded to slowly drop five floors.

There were approximately 17 people on the elevator when it dropped below the fifth floor, according to Thomas Masciale, assistant director for central utilities. His position requires him to oversee all of the contracts, contractors and inspections related to the elevators on campus.

Elissa Salamy, a junior journalism major, said that although the experience was not terrifying for her and the elevator wasn’t free falling, it was a noticeable drop.

“You feel the emergency brakes kick in and it kind of just jolts you, and everyone’s screaming a little bit,” Salamy said.

“We got the call that the elevator was stuck and our elevator/HVAC responded, [they] are our first responders to all elevator calls. When they arrived they found the elevator not level at a floor. They powered everything down and manually opened the elevator doors,” said Masciale.

As soon as the passengers realized that they were not on the intended floor, Public Safety was called.

“Kristin is one of the RA’s in Vander Poel and she was in there and she immediately called Public Safety and we rang the alarm in the elevator,” said Salamy.

Salamy was pleased with the calmness of the way that the situation was handled. Within 10 minutes, Public Safety and maintenance were on the scene to assist students off of the elevator.

Another student in the elevator was unaware of how many people were on it when she got in. Many students were anxious to get to the program and did not think about the weight capacity of the elevator.

“I was the last to get into the packed elevator car, which I later learned had 18 other people inside. We made it up one floor, and then the elevator went down,” said Nicole Corapi, a sophomore health and physical education major. She does not attribute the event to a lack of Hofstra’s safety procedures, but instead the neglecting of the weight capacity.

No one was injured from the event, though many were shaken up by the noise of the elevator braking. Students are less concerned about the event and are instead pleased that the elevator operated properly.

“All of the safety devices and the braking systems operated correctly to bring the car to the complete stop… The main thing is that the students take seriously the capacity of the elevator. If you can’t comfortably stand in the elevator, wait for the next car,” said Masciale.

Students acknowledged the seriousness of the weight limitations Masciale described. Salamy says that she is not afraid to take the elevator again, but she will respect the limits of the elevator.

Corapi felt similarly. “I’m really not disappointed at all. No one was hurt, and everyone remained calm and collected the entire time. I never felt that I was in any real danger – Public Safety assured us that we would be fine…[but] next time the elevator’s packed, I suggest waiting or taking the stairs,” Corapi said.

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