WAYNE, NJ – Just before midnight on October 15, Wayne Fire Company #4 and Rescue 5 were dispatched to the William Paterson University Skyline Residence dorm to rescue a student trapped in an elevator between the fourth and fifth floors.

“Assistant Chiefs Sam Shakkour of Company #4 and Mike Payne, the Coordinator for the Wayne Special Response Team (SRT) were first on the scene,” said Bob Minarick, Wayne’s Fire Commissioner.  “Through communication with the student it was determined he was not in distress or in immediate danger.”

As they waited for the University’s elevator vendor to arrive, the firefighters unsuccessfully attempted to get the elevator to return to the ground floor. When the elevator tech arrived, he attempted to perform an electronic and manual reset of the elevator, but this did not work either.

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At 1:15am it was decided to manually remove the trapped student through the emergency escape door on the roof of the elevator, then bring him up the elevator shaft.

The incident officially changed from a Fire Department to a SRT incident.  “This kind of rescue, through an elevator roof access is considered dangerous and is only performed as a last option,” said Minarick.

The elevator power was disconnected and the SRT members already on scene rigged a rescue line and lowered Chief Shakkour down to the elevator. He then rigged the student with a safety line.  

At 1:45am both were removed from the elevator shaft safely up to the fifth floor. The student was unharmed and grateful.   

The elevator tech locked out the elevator from use and will return during the day to repair it.