Elevator fatality: N.Y. building had 'epidemic' problems

  Elevators in a New York building where an ad executive was killed were rife with problems, a report suggestsThe building where a grisly elevator mishap killed an ad executive last month had an "epidemic" of problems with its lifts, according to a report Thursday that says city inspectors wrote 11 violations against 13 elevators there in recent weeks.

Suzanne Hart, a 41-year-old executive with the agency Y&R, died Dec. 14 as she entered an elevator at her Madison Avenue building on her way to work. It shot upward before she was safely inside, crushing Hart to death. Investigators shut down the busy building until earlier this month.

Since then, reports have circulated in local media of various past citations concerning the building's elevators, though none were considered hazardous.

But according to the New York Post, building inspectors who have been investigating Hart's death have written 11 fresh violations for mechanical issues that could have caused malfunctions. They included problems with a cable, with the materials used to hold elevator parts in place, and with the attachment of clamps.

DNAInfo.com reported this month that the building's management had replaced Transel Elevator, which had handled its elevators and is now under investigation. Hours before Hart's death, Transel workers had performed electrical work on the elevator in which she was killed.

But investigators have yet to determine why the elevator malfunctioned.

Hart grew up in California, attending Palos Verdes High School in the Los Angeles area.

-- Tina Susman in New York

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Photo: Emergency personnel gather outside the Madison Avenue building in Manhattan where Suzanne Hart died Dec. 14 after an elevator malfunctioned. Credit: Seth Wenig / Associated Press

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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