8 rescued from elevator at downtown Atlanta hotel

Atlanta firefighters are shown responding to a June 2020 fire at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. Crews were again called to the downtown Atlanta hotel Sunday after eight people became trapped in an elevator. (JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM)

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Atlanta firefighters are shown responding to a June 2020 fire at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. Crews were again called to the downtown Atlanta hotel Sunday after eight people became trapped in an elevator. (JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM)

Eight people were rescued Sunday after being stuck on an elevator for nearly four hours inside a downtown Atlanta hotel.

The elevator became suspended on the 27th floor of the Westin Peachtree Plaza after getting stuck behind a blind shaft about 5:45 p.m., according to an Atlanta fire official. The last occupant was not rescued until just before 9:30 p.m., and no one was injured.

Rescue crews responded to the Peachtree Street hotel after getting two 911 calls from inside the elevator. They started their search on the 14th floor based on one caller’s description, but they did not find the elevator after opening the shaft, fire spokeswoman Alyssa Richardson said.

“Firefighters traveled to the 73rd floor to the control room to reset the elevator by shutting off the power,” fire spokesperson Alyssa Richardson said in an emailed statement. “After the reset, the elevator did not return to its normal function, and an elevator technician arrived to troubleshoot the problem.”

Additional rescue crews and department supervisors responded when those efforts failed, she said. To reach the trapped occupants, a squad rode a second elevator down to the stalled one and removed the hatch.

“Firefighters then determined they could place a short ladder into the elevator car and extricate the occupants two at a time by transferring them to the roof of the working elevator car, bringing them up to the 45th floor, and having them step off,” Richardson said.

After four trips and about 45 minutes, all eight people were safely back on the 45th floor.

Fire crews then turned the scene over to building personnel for elevator repairs, Richardson said.

“We are very grateful to the Atlanta Fire Department and our elevator maintenance company who safely evacuated guests from an elevator last night,” hotel manager Frank A. James said in an emailed statement. “The cause of this incident is under investigation, and the safety of our guests and employees is always a top priority.”

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