2 workers trapped in exterior elevator on silo on SE Side rescued

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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
2 workers rescued from elevator outside Chicago silo
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Two workers were rescued Monday morning after they became trapped high in the air in an elevator outside a Chicago silo.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two workers were rescued Monday morning after they became trapped high in the air in an elevator outside a Chicago silo.

At about 8 a.m., Chicago firefighters were called out to the Holcim cement mixing plant on 130th Street on the Far South Side where two workers were trapped in an external elevator.

Several firefighters scrambled up the external staircase to plan a rescue from up top.

"They prepared a system that allowed them to rescue those members from out of the car via ropes," said Jamar Sullivan, CFD's district chief of special operations.

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But as that was happening, a crane company came to the rescue.

"We actually called in a company that had a crane or a man lift that would actually reach it, so that was going to be our option A, because we felt that would be the safest option," Sullivan said. "Should the situation with the car start to deteriorate or we could not get a man lift to them, we would have effected a high angle rescue."

Materials were dropped down via buckets on ropes as the crane was positioned in place. After some three hours, the pair emerged, harnessed, and gently descended. The relief was palpable to all.

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As of Monday afternoon, the elevator remained stranded 125 feet in the air. But that actually is a testament to how safe elevators really are: the Chicago Elevator Association says tractor elevators stand a 1 in 12 million chance of having something go wrong. They called it an "anomaly," and say that globally, the chance of having any kind of fatal accident in an elevator is very rare indeed.

"All of the safety features that actually stop the car in the first place were working properly," Sullivan said. "We do have an elevator repair company coming in and they are going to investigate and try to make a repair on it."

ABC7 has reached out to Holcim but has not received comment or a statement from company representatives. The corporation has operations around the U.S. and globally.

One man was checked out to by EMS specialists, but neither victim sustained any physical injuries. It appeared to be all in a day's work.