A two year old boy suffered very serious injuries including severe head trauma after he fell down an elevator shaft in Joliet, IL, on Monday. The incident occurred at the Plaza Hotel in Joliet, IL, around 3:30 p.m. According to published reports, the boy was unattended in the elevator when he started playing with the elevator buttons. The boy reportedly hit an emergency stop button at which point the doors opened exposing a 10 inch gap between the elevator and the walls. The toddler fell through this gap all the way to the hotel basement floor. The boy was reportedly first taken to Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet before being airlifted to Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He was in a coma on Monday but has reportedly improved as he is now able to open his eyes and move his hands.
In the wake of the tragic elevator accident, two elevator inspectors were suspended by the State of Illinois. A spokesperson for the Illinois State fire marshal, the entity that oversees elevator inspections, has indicated that disciplinary measures could be forthcoming once an investigation is complete. The elevator reportedly passed inspection on October 26th. It had reportedly failed an inspection earlier that month due to a incomplete pressure test. The elevator is now out of service. The State has reportedly required that the hotel make upgrades to its elevators.
UPDATE: The Joliet chief building inspector has determined that a building code violation may have played a role in the elevator accident. The switch panel that the child used to stop the elevator between floors should have required a key for operation and should have also been stored behind a locked panel.