The elevator company under investigation by the city after a fatal accident has fired five of its employees.
Transel Elevator dismissed the workers Wednesday, including mechanic Michael Hill, who is accused of an error that may have allowed the elevator to rise with its doors open.
Ad executive Suzanne Hart was crushed to death when she stepped onto the lift at her Madison Avenue office building on December 14. The horrifying incident happened just two minutes after Transel employees worked on the elevator.
A city investigation into the accident found that workers “failed to follow basic safety procedures.” Hill admitted that he used a wire to override the elevator’s system, which allows the lift to move with its door open while workers repaired it.
Hill said he took the wire before the incident, and brought it to another job. Investigators said they found a wire near the elevator’s control box.
Transel Elevator issued this statement:
Transel confirms its stated commitment to safety and has enhanced its operations to further ensure that the highest level of safety is followed by its mechanics. The company, has consulted with leading experts and professionals in the Elevator Industry to ensure that its operation continues to utilize the highest level of required safety practices. Transel’s quest for perfection is relentless as demonstrated by its twenty- five year history of safety record; has never been hesitant to implement enhancements to its practices and will continue to do so as any good business would do. During this process Transel has also discharged the five mechanics identified as being on site on the date of the accident.
Transel continues to maintain service and install elevators in New York City based on the valid licenses individuals in the company hold.
The Department of Buildings has referred the case to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, where it is under investigation for potential criminal charges.