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Fatal Brooklyn elevator accident raises troubling safety questions

Across New York City, apartment buildings serve as homes to the city's more than eight million permanent residents. Many of these buildings are relatively new or have been renovated to include modern-day conveniences. A recent fatal accident at one luxury high-rise apartment building in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood serves as a tragic reminder of what can happen when a building's owner fails to repair and properly maintain vital building components.

The accident occurred during the early morning hours of Oct. 2 as a 37-year-old man and four of his friends boarded the apartment building's elevator. Upon entering the elevator car, the doors remained open as the elevator "plunged to the basement." As the man attempted to jump out of the elevator and onto the basement floor, the elevator suddenly "shot back up toward the lobby," crushing his body.

On Friday, as residents at the seven-year-old building learned of the horrific accident, several told reporters from The New York Times of incidences where they too were trapped in or experienced problems with the elevator. While, in the wake of the accident, a representative from the Buildings Department commented that "we see no outstanding problems with the elevator at this time," records indicate that the elevator was cited in four violations, all of which were reported as resolved, since 2013.

After the accident, city inspectors were on hand at the building to inspect the elevator and determine what factors may have contributed to the man's death. An anonymous city official commented that it appeared as though "the device brake was unable to hold the capacity load, causing the cab to fall."

We'll continue to provide updates about this tragic accident as more details come to light.

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