Bill Seeks Safety Device on Housing Elevators

José M. Serrano

June 08, 2009

Bill Seeks Safety Device on Housing Elevators

By Manny Fernandez

The New York Times

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Two state lawmakers want New York City’s public housing agency to install a safety device on all its elevators that experts say could have prevented the death of a 5-year-old Brooklyn boy who fell down a shaft while trying to escape a stalled elevator last year.

The lawmakers — Assemblyman Brian P. Kavanagh of Manhattan and State Senator José M. Serrano of the Bronx and East Harlem — have introduced a bill in both houses that would require the agency, the New York City Housing Authority, to place door or zone restrictors on its nearly 3,340 elevators. The devices prevent people trapped inside stalled elevators from opening the cab doors.

The boy who died last year, Jacob Neuman, was riding in an elevator with his 8-year-old brother in a public housing complex in South Williamsburg when the elevator stalled between floors. Electrical malfunctions caused the elevator to lose power and allowed the cab door to open, according to an accident report by the city’s Department of Buildings. Jacob fell 10 stories while trying to jump to the floor below.

The elevator was not equipped with a door restrictor.