Eight people were injured after a freight elevator failed in downtown Emporia, but a former building owner said the elevator should never have had people in it to begin with.
Battalion Chief Ryan Schmidt with the Emporia Fire Department said the incident occurred at 504 1/2 Commercial St., at 12:46 p.m. Saturday afternoon, when the cable snapped when the elevator car was about 10 feet in the air. Initial reports said seven people were in the elevator.
The elevator crashed to the ground and injuries were classified as “moderate trauma.” Schmidt said a broken lift cable was to blame.
Lynn Knechtel, who owned both 502 and 504 Commercial St., said the elevator was shared between the buildings. It was always intended for freight, she said, meaning people should not have been inside of it. She said a sign was posted in the building for years stating that fact.
“Everybody knows that is not an elevator for people to use,” Knechtel told The Gazette Saturday night. “Why were their seven people in that elevator? That’s insane. It’s pretty little, maybe two-by-four feet. It’s always been designated for freight.”
Knechtel said she sold the buildings to Aaron and Sandra Adams of Wamego, who were informed that the elevator was for freight-use only as well. According to the Lyon County Beacon, the Adamses still own the buildings. We have not yet been able to reach them for comment.
“It’s very tragic what happened and obviously you feel for people who got hurt,” Knechtel said. “But there was really no reason for seven people to be in there, let alone one person.”