Elevator Company Transel Fires 5 Workers After City’s Accident Report

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.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

  • Diisgusted

    Conneticut is in the same situation. Take a look a Kone’s maintenance guide. It’s a fantastic system, except they give you 15 minutes to do an hours work. Connecticut is also on an outdated Elevator Code. BOMA lobbies strongly to not adopt the newest Code, because it would cost them money to upgrade their elevators to current SAFETY standards.
    You guys are all right, the whole elevator industry needs to be investigated. There will only be more and more accidents.
    As we did not hear the workers side of the story, it’s a biased option thus far.
    It’s not easy to work safelly with the bosses on your ass all the time to run,run, run. They threaten your job if don’t do what they tell you to.
    However, elevator mechanics must work safely for their sake and the publics sake.
    I spent 40 years in the business and saw it deteriorate to the current corporate greed situation we are in now.

    • elevator man for 5 years

      All of these bulletin happens in New York because all the mechanic over there think they know everything and then they come to Miami and tell people what to do when all they cause in theirs cities are accidents if u don’t jump the doors the elevator will not move at all…………………….

  • Vator guy

    How come a elevator installed today is only inspected to the year 2000 code, why is the most populated city in the country as well as the city that depends on elevators more than any other 12 years behind on codes. How come these buildings are allowed to keep there elevators the way they are when they have been told numerous times by there elevator companies, the third party consultants and the DOB that there elevators need a modernization. All because the buildings dont want to spend the money. One of many many protblems with this cities elevator industry, dont tell me it is all about public safety, if everyone only knew. The media MUST do a story on this , now is the time before another tragedy happens.

    • quikmustang

      vator guy, you cant be more correct in your facts. what you failed to mention is all that is required by us mechnics. the 70 elevators that 1 alone mechanic has to maintain so the ekevator companies can make top dollar. the over whelming work that is obligated on us. this would be a whole investigation for the media alone. how can an elevator company expect for one man to maintain and repair 70 elevators alone. This has bothered me from day one in this shitty business. This feild should be required for a 2 man job at the least.the abundance of work laid on the sholders of 1 man alone should highly be investigated. how does osha see this as being safe. No elevator should be worked on alone…period.

  • Vator guy

    The media wants a big story, i suggest that they dig into and go over the NYC elevator industry with a fine tooth comb.If everyone is so concerned about public safety they will be in shock when they find out how messed up and behind this industry is.

  • Vator guy

    I love it when so many people who know nothing about the situation voice there opinions, the fact that the media has put such a spin on this is unreal. This truly was a horrible tragedy and should never have have happened but the public is looking at this the wrong way thanks to the media. The reality is the whole NYC elevator industry needs to be under the microscope not just Transel, this is everywhere in this city. The public shoud be asking why the city is 12 years behind on its codes. Why is it that a elevator put in today is only held to year 2000 codes and how come it is ok for these buildings to keep this old equipment when it is advised to have there elevators modernized by inspectors, the consultants and the elevator companies. Dont give me the crap about public safety, these buildings dont want to shell out the money and the city is ok with it. Just one of the many messed up parts about the industry that you wont here about , why. If the news companies want a big big story it is time that they start digging into this industry if it really is about public safety.

  • White Plains Gentleman

    That’s interesting that five mechanics and apprentices were fired, how come the executives wouldn’t take responsibility for this incident, and blame themselves, and resign? It’s always the little guy who has to take the fall. I work for a large corporation on Wall St. as a consultant, and the upper management’s message to it’s consultants is ”No we we need to give ourselves $5 million in compensation, but the company still needs to save money, that’s why we’re lowering your hour wages to the minimum wage. It’s for the good of the company.”

  • Bullett

    Slick move by Transel Elevator Company. Any legal council the former employees will need must now come out of their own pockets, rather then the coffers of Transel. Will the weekend microphone (Charles Schumer) step up to the plate to defend the rights of these former employees of Transel? Time will tell; stay tuned!

  • Vernon Hell

    It is always the grunt employees who are blamed for taking shortcuts directly or indirectly mandated by executives. Transel deserves to be seized and liquidated to serve as a warning to other evil corporations.

    • Tommy

      I suppose when an MTA bus driver has an accident the MTA Chairman should resign and the MTA should be liquidated.

      • Vator guy

        Thank you , finally somebody who actually makes sense.

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