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Boston police said Tuesday that they’re still investigating what exactly caused an elevator accident that killed an adult woman Monday evening in Allston.
The city’s police and fire department responded to the incident at 1140 Commonwealth Ave. at approximately 5:13 p.m. Monday, Officer Stephen McNulty, a BPD spokesman, told Boston.com. They arrived at the five-floor apartment building to find a woman in her 30s dead in the elevator, as The Boston Globe reported Monday evening.
Official didn’t have many more details than that to share Tuesday. McNulty said that police had no updates and didn’t anticipate any further information. An employee at a realty firm located at building also declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
Witnesses told reporters at the scene Monday night that the “gruesome” accident occurred as the woman was loading a box into the “old-fashioned” elevator when the car dropped between floors.
“I heard someone that was bringing in a package out in the hallway, and then I heard an ungodly scream,” Leanne Scorzoni, a resident of the apartment building, told WCVB. “Then we ran out into the hallway, and we saw a gentleman who was obviously in distress. He was screaming and hyperventilating, saying: ‘She’s dead! She’s dead!’”
According to police, a second person suffering from shock was also taken to a local hospital. The victim has not been publicly identified. But according to WCVB, she had recently moved into the building.
Scorzini said the roof of the elevator was visible from the first-floor lobby (the building also has a semi-basement level).
“Everything was down, but I could see the cables and the roof of the car, so the car had to have gone at least halfway down,” Scorzini told WCVB.
Other neighbors speculated that the woman and her box could have been over the car’s weight limit, but also questioned the integrity of the elevator. According to city records, the building was constructed in 1920.
“It’s a two-slide door system and unless that door is completely shut, it does not move ever,” Nevada Foskit, another building resident, told CBS Boston. “If something did happen, it clearly had to be faulty.”
It remains unclear what exactly caused the apparent collapse. However, state officials told Boston.com on Tuesday that the elevator had been both “recently inspected” and certified.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration also responded to the scene Monday night, but determined the incident was not in their jurisdiction, since it was not work related, according to a spokesman. Both OSHA and Boston’s Inspectional Service Department referred questions to the state agency that oversees elevators.
A spokesperson for the Division of Professional Licensure at the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation reiterated Tuesday that the incident remains under investigation, but declined to answer specific questions.
“The department will continue working with first responders and other authorities to determine the cause of this accident,” the spokesperson said. “The elevator was recently inspected and was certified in accordance with state regulations. The department extends its deepest sympathies to the loved ones of the victim during this difficult time.”
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