The 911 Center was inundated with calls shortly after 10:00 p.m. when an overloaded elevator delivering passengers to the Club LeConte on the twenty-sixth floor of the Plaza Tower became stuck somewhere between the lobby and the eighteenth floor. The Knoxville Fire Department’s Rescue Unit was dispatched to the scene, and found approximately 25 individuals with plans to attend a fraternity party, crammed into approximately a 5′ X 5′ elevator. The Rescue Team made their way to the electrical housing at the top of the building to over ride the anxious fingers inside the stalled elevator pushing buttons. The group, who’s average age was around 20 years, was uncooperative with firefighters, which delayed the rescue to over an hour. KPD was also called to control a second rowdy crowd which formed in the lobby. The elevator was taken out of service while a maintenance engineer from Otis elevator could check for any mechanical damages. No injuries were reported.
Safety Tip: Always obey the recommended occupancy load printed inside an elevator, and never test the integrity of an elevator by jumping once inside. It is safest to remain inside the elevator until rescue personnel arrive. NEVER jump from an opened elevator door to the floor below if stuck between floors for fear of falling into the elevator shaft.
Captain D.J. Corcoran