Bellevue College elevator stuck, trapping students inside

At 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, an elevator in the R building stopped working, trapping the students using the elevator inside. According to Jerry Weber, the president of Bellevue College, “Public Safety responded immediately by sending campus officers to the scene and calling the Bellevue Fire Department (BFD) who arrived 10 minutes later to assist. It was determined that the situation required elevator technicians to troubleshoot, and one arrived at approximately 9:30 p.m. Fortunately, it only took the elevator technician 10 minutes to resolve, and all students inside were able to exit the elevator with no reported injuries. The elevator has been repaired and is now functioning properly.”

Dexter Johnson, the executive director of campus operations, said that they received a call at 8:47 p.m. and the technician arrived at 9:45 p.m. to help the students. The reason that the elevator shut down was because of the rupture valve.

The rupture valve can fail because of one of three reasons: the elevator’s capacity was exceeded, the rupture valve was malfunctioning, or people in the elevator were jumping up and down, “which causes backflow into the system and sets the rupture valve.”
Although this has happened in the past and students continue to get stuck in elevators in the R building, there is nothing that can be done to fix the issue. “No, we can’t prevent this from happening in the future,” said Johnson.
He continued, “We will continue with normal inspections and maintenance to help prevent service interruptions in the future. We recently tested the rupture valve and it passed, however testing the system does place stress on components and cannot be ruled out. The most common cause for a call of this nature is jumping or bouncing in a well loaded car. If we see another failure we will investigate further, however at this time there is no safety concern that warrants further action.”
Weber said in response to the event, “We are pleased with the quick response from Public Safety and grateful that no one was hurt. Vice President Ray White will follow up with the elevator repair company to assess the incident and their response.”
Any questions can be taken to BC’s Public Safety Department using the phone number (425) 564-2400.

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