NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An investigation is underway after a man was killed in a Manhattan apartment building elevator when it malfunctioned Thursday.
Police cars and first responders flooded Third Avenue, moments after 30-year-old Samuel Charles Waisbren was crushed in an elevator.
Investigators said Waisbren was a resident of the building.
“I was crying. I was the person crying on the street corner all morning out of sadness for the person that was affected, out of fear for my own family that this could have been any of us,” Dayna Sargen said.
Sargen lives on the eighth floor of the apartment building between 25th and 26th streets. She said she came downstairs Thursday morning to chaos.
“There were just firefighters and first responders just like really looking down the elevator shaft,” she said. “It’s just sad. It’s tragedy.”
Jeffrey Koffler’s daughter lives in the building.
“I never saw anything abnormal the other times I’ve been here visiting my daughter. It’s very, very shocking,” he told CBS2.
— FDNY (@FDNY) August 22, 2019
Police said three people were inside the elevator right before it happened. Two of them got off. They said when the last person went to leave, the elevator suddenly dropped.
“I feel really, really horrible for the family and for the person that was affected,” Sargen said.
Waisbren was pinned between the elevator car and the elevator shaft. He was pronounced dead at the scene, FDNY officials said.
“A life could have been saved,” Sargen said.
In a building residents like Sargen said has been plagued with elevator issues.
“It shouldn’t have to take someone dying to have a management company realize there’s an issue with our elevators,” one resident said.
The Department of Buildings said an elevator in the building was tampered with back in May. It said the building was fined and the issue may not have been resolved.
“DOB is investigating this incident aggressively and will take all appropriate enforcement actions. Elevators are the safest form of travel in New York, due to the city’s stringent inspection and safety requirements,” the department said in a statement. “We’re determined to find out what went wrong at this building and seek ways to prevent incidents like this in the future.”
It’s not clear though if that was the same elevator as Thursday’s incident or the one next to it.
“They’re always down, people are getting stuck. There’s something wrong with the elevators,” Sargen said.
There are so many issues, Sargen said she might move out.
“I don’t know if I’ll feel comfortable putting my two kids in an elevator here again,” she said.
The Department of Buildings said it’s investigating both incidents to see if there is a connection.