Eight people sent to hospital after elevator fails in downtown Emporia

A freight elevator failed at 504 1/2 Commercial St., Saturday afternoon.
A freight elevator failed at 504 1/2 Commercial St., Saturday afternoon.(Emporia Gazette)
Published: Oct. 22, 2022 at 5:14 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - According to Emporia Fire Battalion Chief Ryan Schmidt, eight people were taken to the hospital on Saturday afternoon after an elevator failed in downtown Emporia.

Chief Schmidt said emergency responders were called to an apartment building at 504 1/2 Commercial St., at around 12:46 pm. All eight individuals in the elevator were sent to the ground after the cable snapped 10 feet in the air.

Schmidt said that reported injuries vary from minor bruises to significant trauma. At this moment, no names have been released.

The incident occurred in the elevator located on the backside of the building. Other details have not been confirmed.

The Emporia Gazette reports that Lynn Knechtel, who owned both 502 and 504 Commercial St. buildings, said the elevator was shared between the buildings and always intended for freight, meaning people should not have been inside of it.

She said a sign had been posted in the building for years.

“Everybody knows that is not an elevator for people to use,” Knechtel told The Gazette. “Why were there seven people in that elevator? That’s insane. It’s pretty little, maybe two-by-four feet. It’s always been designated for freight.”

According to the Emporia Gazette, Knechtel said she sold the buildings to Aaron and Sandra Adams of Wamego, who were informed that the elevator was for freight use only.

According to the Lyon County Beacon, the Adams’ still own the buildings, and there is no comment from them yet.

“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.”