Denver bomb cyclone leads to power outages, which lead to elevator outages

Yes, people are getting stuck in elevators.

A bomb cyclone hits Denver. March 13, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A bomb cyclone hits Denver. March 13, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

One more reason to stay home.

The spotty power outages that accompanied Wednesday’s high winds and heavy snow shut down several elevators.

Denver Fire spokesman Greg Pixley said that by early afternoon Wednesday, firefighters had responded to five calls about people being trapped in office tower elevators. While he said that wasn’t unusual during a period of power problems, it was more than the one or two such calls on a normal day.

The elevator emergencies were among a slew of calls for help to the fire department, Pixley said. At one point dispatchers told him 100 calls were in line awaiting a response. Auto accidents, downed power wires, medical emergencies and lack of heat were among the reasons people called the fire department. One caller had ended up locked out of a house, a serious matter given the severe weather.

“When they don’t know anyone else to call … we answer 911,” said Pixley, who was working from home. “It’s going to be a long day for firefighters.”

While schools, government offices and many businesses shut down early or altogether because of the storm, not everyone got to stay home. At the State Capitol, politicians tried to conduct business as usual, including a committee hearing on paid family leave. Doug Platt, spokesman for the Department of Personnel and Administration which manages the capitol building, said a few elevator riders there hit the alarm when power outages caused lights to flicker or go out. In most cases the elevators reset themselves and passengers were able to alight before help arrived, he said.

“There’ve been no entrapments,” he said.

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