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February 04, 2007

Arrest for fatal fall in NYC club

A man died after falling down an elevator shaft during a dispute at BED, a New York City nightclub once featured on Sex in the City. Police arrested the man who pushed him into the elevator doors:

Police early Sunday arrested Granville Adams, 43, and charged him with criminally negligent homicide in the death of Orlando Valle, 35.

Investigators said the two men fought early Saturday morning at BED New York, a club in the Chelsea neighborhood known for providing beds for its lounging patrons. It was once featured on the TV show "Sex and the City."

Adams pushed Valle against sixth-floor elevator doors, which opened, causing Valle to fall into the shaft, police said. [AP]


The elevator had passed all previous inspections, according to a Department of Buildings spokeswoman.

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Comments

I'm not sure about this one.

Assault, yes (depending on who hit who first?) and the terrible misfortune of having elevator doors pop open to an empty elevator shaft.

Not sure that this civilian would call what is described here as criminally negligent anything just quite yet. A rumble and the most horrible fucking luck of all time is more like it.

I don't have an opinion on this one yet.

I just seem to have carved out a niche for myself as the one-stop-shop for stories about falls, buildings, and New York City.

Why are people fighting so much?

Yikes. I've never given elevator doors a hard push and I won't be doing so anytime soon. Can elevator doors actually be that flimsy and/or poorly engineered? Was there something wrong with the inspection? I'll take the stairs thank you.

>I just seem to have carved out a niche for myself as the one-stop-shop for stories about falls, buildings, and New York City.

Not that you're inviting speculation about a Canadian expat's subconscious longer-term reaction to NYC. Nope...

As a certified elevator inspector I can state a few things here. Elevators don't get inspected often enough. And even when they are, they are grandfathered by local authorities way too much; meaning that as long as they comply with the codes under which they were installed (25 - 30 years ago, or maybe even longer?) they are OK - and they are not updated or improved as safety codes change mainly because of political concerns. Just because it has been inspected doesn't mean there aren't some questionable safety issues.

Modern elevators have retainers at the top of the doors to prevent their breaking loose, and additional retainers and guides at the bottom to keep the door pretty well secured in the door tracks. Older elevators probably do not have these additional retainers.

Granted you can't design something completely impervious to the stupidity of a couple of knuckleheads fighting in an elevator lobby, but it is possible to make some improvements that might have prevented this type of accident.

Jimbo2K6, thank you for the explanation!

Yes, thank you, Jimbo2K6. It's great to get a professional perspective.

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