NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The deadly Midtown elevator accident has now led to a major round of firings.
They came just days after a scathing report on the accident that killed advertising executive Suzanne Hart last December.
The elevator maintenance company, Transel, dismissed five mechanics and apprentices after a report released Monday found that human error caused elevator 9 — Hart’s elevator — to shoot up violently, crushing her body the moment she stepped on.
“What happened here was so frightening for everyone throughout the city,” said Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.
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Gill Hearn said this week that the Dec. 14 accident could have been avoided.
The five fired workers named in the report included Efrain Cordona, Jason Torzilli, David O’Neill, Robert Schroeder and Michael Hill. Hill admitted to investigators that he overrode a safety circuit found under a grate in the elevator shaft, which later malfunctioned just as the 41-year-old Hart stepped in.
Though Hill insisted in the report that the elevator was safely back online by the time Hart was killed.
“Had the safety circuit not been bypassed, the elevator would not normally jump up and accelerate the way it did with the doors open, which is of course an extreme danger,” Gill Hearn said.
Workers in Hart’s Madison Avenue office building continue to come and go to work using the same elevators.
Many are said to be nervous, but have little choice than to take the chance another deadly elevator accident won’t happen there again.
Transel said it will continue to ensure the highest level of safety for all of its mechanics.
The city has moved to suspend the operating license of a top Transel official — John Fichera. Transel said it will appeal.
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