Campus plagued by elevator entrapments this semester


A Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters attempt to rescue students stuck in an elevator on Monday, April 1. The students were stuck for five minutes. Photo credit: Rosemary Montalvo

Elevator issues continue at El Camino College with the ninth reported elevator entrapment of the semester on Monday, April 29, authorities said.

A person who was stuck in a Parking Lot H elevator for 40 minutes was rescued by the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) after elevator company Fujitec America, located in Santa Fe Springs, could not make it, according to the EC Police Beat, a collection of weekly police reports made available to The Union by ECPD.

“It’s like your car if it’s out of order that means something has failed or broken down,” EC Sgt. Gary Robertson said. “I don’t know if its a specific part of a variety of issues.

When EC police officers are called regarding an elevator entrapment, they contact Facilities Planning and Services who then contact elevator company Fujitec America, EC Chief of Police Michael Trevis said.

However, Fujitec America elevator technicians are often unavailable or can’t make it right away, resulting in the police department calling the LACoFD, according to the Police Beat.

The Union contacted Fujitec but they had no immediate comment on the elevator issues.

Robertson said Fujitec America sends personnel to fix elevators after the entrapment incidents occur.

Elevator entrapments can happen for several reasons, Robertson said.

In one case, an elevator needed major parts replaced and in another, there was a weight sensor issue, Robertson said.

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations permits posted inside every elevator cart, parts must be inspected each year.

The elevators on campus were last inspected Friday, July 20, 2018, according to the permits. Meaning they have to be inspected this year because the permit expires Saturday, July 20.

The Union also attempted to reach EC Operations Supervisor Antonio Saucier and Systems Supervisor Michael Clifford through calls and emails but they were unavailable.

Robertson said the elevators causing the most issues are in Parking Lot H and Murdock Stadium.

There have been four reported entrapments in Parking Lot H, four in the Humanities Building and one in the P.E. South Building.

Robertson said the police department makes sure there is at least one functioning elevator for students, staff and particularly students with disabilities in every building.

A student is assisted out of a malfunctioning elevator by a Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighter on Monday, April 1. This was one of three students on board. Photo credit: Rosemary Montalvo

In the event of an elevator entrapment, the EC Police Department sends officers to the scene to comfort while they are stuck, Robertson said.

Robertson added that the EC Police Department will also help students with any issues, including medical, post-entrapment.

The Union attempted to contact two victims from a Monday, April 1 elevator entrapment but they were not available for comment.