Four days after 14 people were trapped for hours in a sweltering elevator car, another elevator failed in the same Philadelphia high-rise, trapping a restaurant employee for more than an hour.
The latest incident occurred late Wednesday at Two Liberty Place, a 58-story tower in the heart of Center City. A worker was leaving for the night from her job at the R2L, a lounge and restaurant on the building’s 37th floor.
The elevator came to a halt between floorsabout 11 p.m.
“Of course, this is everybody’s nightmare,” said Barbara Casey, a spokesperson for the building’s owner, Coretrust Capital Partners LLC of Los Angeles. “Nobody wants to be trapped in an elevator.”
The woman used the intercom to alert the building’s security officer, who called in a technician to free her. The technician arrived in 45 minutes.
Casey attributed the failure to mechanical error. She said that in recent months, Liberty Two has spent $5 million to upgrade and modernize the elevators.
“We are determined to avoid any further incidents and are comprehensively addressing the entire elevator system,” she said. “Having invested $5 million to make Two Liberty Place elevators the best in the city, we are leaving no stone unturned to ensure they operate at the highest and safest level.”
Last Saturday, 14 people were on their way to a wedding reception at R2L when an electrical breaker tripped, cutting power to the car. The group was trapped for 3½ hours and did not make it to their party.
During the ordeal, the atmosphere in the car became so stifling that panicked passengers took turns breathing through a small opening in the elevator door. One rider compared the ordeal to “being in an oven” as temperatures rose past 100 degrees.
Carey said technicians from Fujitec America, the elevator’s manufacturer, will remain at Two Liberty around the clock until the elevators are deemed to be working smoothly again. “They’re ‘scrubbing’ every car,” she said. “That is, they’re testing and retesting them to make certain it doesn’t happen again.”
Two Liberty Place is Philadelphia’s fourth-tallest building. The tower, with a splashy exterior that’s lit at night with LEDs, features offices on the lower floors, the restaurant more than halfway to the top, and luxury condominiums that reach close to the pinnacle.