Emergency workers free Frenchtown student, staff member from elevator

A Frenchtown School student and staff member were briefly trapped in the school's elevator Thursday afternoon. Volunteers with the Trumbull Center Fire Department attempted to free the two before an elevator repairman was able to open the doors.

According to Principal Jackie Norcel, the youth is a special needs student who is assigned to staff members, one of whom is claustrophobic and does not ride in the elevator.

"The way we found out they were trapped is that the paraprofessional walked them to the elevator, then ran down the stairs to meet them," Norcel said. "When she got down there the doors didn't open, and she heard them inside saying they weren't moving."

Norcel said the staff member tried to use the elevator's emergency phone, but it was not working. With the lights out inside the elevator, he and the student sat on the floor and waited for help to arrive.

Within about 20 minutes the repairman was able to open the doors and allow the staff member and student to climb out. The elevator had only descended about three feet before stopping.

Norcel said the school has not had any problems with the elevator in the 10 years the school has been open. The safety certifications require it to be inspected every six months and Norcel said her records indicate it was last checked in July.