Child dies in home elevator accident just after regulator pushes company for fix

Child dies in home elevator accident just after regulator pushes company for fix

A young boy was killed in a home elevator accident in North Carolina over the weekend, just days after a federal regulator for consumer product safety filed a lawsuit against an elevator manufacturer for a similar issue involved in several childhood deaths and injuries. 

The incident occurred Saturday at a beach rental house in North Carolina’s Outer Banks when the 7-year-old apparently had his neck crushed after getting caught between the moving elevator’s inner accordion door and outer door, Corolla, N.C., fire chief Rich Shortway told The Washington Post

“It’s just such a terrible tragedy,” he said of the boy’s death, which occurred just hours after the Ohio family had arrived to begin their vacation. 

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The issue that appeared to have led to the boy’s death was highlighted in a lawsuit announced last week by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The legal action seeks to force former elevator manufacturing company ThyssenKrupp Access to conduct safety inspections of its elevators in customers’ homes and offer free repairs after its elevators were tied to at least eight deaths and two series injuries of children over the past 40 years. 

However, Shortway noted that the elevator involved in the Outer Banks death was not manufactured by ThyssenKrupp and was instead made by Pennsylvania-based Custom Elevator Manufacturing Inc.

The Hill has reached out to the company for comment. 

The CSPC said it was investigating the North Carolina incident, which comes after years of inaction on an issue that a Post investigation revealed has been widely known among the elevator industry for more than 70 years. 

Similar to the reported issue with the Outer Banks home elevator, the CPSC said that there have been a series of reported instances in which children had been crushed by ThyssenKrupp elevators due to a narrow gap between the main elevator door and the elevator car door that small children can accidentally slip through. 

ThyssenKrupp, which left the home elevator industry in 2012, pushed back on the legal action last week, saying in a statement to The Hill that it was “already providing free inspections, free hardware, and free installations to affected homeowners to address a hazard that CPSC knows is the result of improper third-party installations of safe, compliant elevators.” 

The company also accused the CPSC of putting “semantics ahead of real attempts to make consumers safer while conveniently ignoring the facts that the CPSC has been fully aware of ThyssenKrupp Access Corp.’s communication outreach efforts for years."