News

Young & Rubicam Building Reopens Weeks After Deadly Elevator Accident

People returning to work after elevator accident at Young and Rubicam. (credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

People returning to work after elevator accident at Young and Rubicam. (credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The midtown Manhattan office building where a woman died in a freak elevator accident reopened Tuesday for some workers.

Floors 12 through 25 will be open since that section of the building is serviced by a different elevator bank than the one that killed 41-year-old advertising executive Suzanne Hart.

The first 12 floors of the building are expected to reopen by the end of the month.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports

Hart died last month after an elevator in the Young & Rubicam building at 285 Madison Avenue malfunctioned.

Hart was boarding on the ground floor when the elevator suddenly surged upwards with the doors open, causing her to fall forward.

She was crushed between the elevator and the shaft wall.

A framed photograph of Hart hangs in the lobby of the building with flowers below.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports many employees hugged each other near the working elevator bank upon their emotional return back to work.

“It’s good to be back. Everybody’s pulling together to get things done and doing a fine job,” one man said. “It’s a little touchy, everybody’s on edge a little bit but we’ll get through it.”

Building management has been working to calm nerves of the returning staff assuring them that a number of tests have been conducted to ensure the elevators are operating properly.

“I understand that it is actually being tested and it should be working fine,” Paul Fox said. “I’ve worked here for 25 years so the odds are in my favor.”

“They said that they’ve done many, many checks and a lot of maintenance has gone on and they assured us that it’s very safe now,” one woman said. “I used to rush all the time, not anymore though. That extra minute won’t make a big difference.”

Yet some are looking forward to their move into a new building.

suzanne hart1 Young & Rubicam Building Reopens Weeks After Deadly Elevator Accident

Suzanne Hart (credit: Facebook)

Meanwhile, Kathleen Mullahy, of Queens, who was in the elevator on Dec. 14 when Hart was killed, is planning a lawsuit. Not only did she witness the incident, she was also trapped in the elevator car with Hart’s body.

Mullahy said the accident left her traumatized and the 36-year-old has signed an affidavit claiming she can longer ride an elevator out of fear of bodily injury and/or death, according to the Daily News.

Both Y&R and Transel Elevator Inc., the firm repairing the elevators just hours before the accident, were named as defendants in the legal action.

Mullahy reportedly is also asking that the elevator be preserved in its post accident condition until her legal counsel team can inspect it.

The Department of Buildings said technicians from Transel were doing electrical maintenance on the elevator hours before Hart was crushed and killed.

An investigation turned up at least eight active cases against the company.

Transel operates and maintains 2,500 elevators around the city.