An elderly man who died in a parking-garage elevator had pushed the emergency button twice during an 8-minute span July 6 but got no response despite Denver code requiring elevator operators to monitor emergency notifications around the clock.
According to denverpost.com:
Unable to escape the elevator car — possibly because of dementia — 82-year-old Isaak Komisarchik died between the morning of July 6 and Aug. 2, when elevator repair workers finally discovered the body after multiple residents of the apartment complex reported a terrible stench.
When a Denver firefighter responded, the elevator doors were open. Elevator maintenance workers had just found Komisarchik’s body inside the car, Denver Fire Department spokesman Capt. Greg Pixley said.
A criminal investigation confirmed the number of times the emergency button was pushed, Pixley said. Now detectives are trying to determine why no one responded.
“Something is not right,” Pixley said.
The elevator in which Komisarchik died served a parking garage at the Woodstream Village apartments, 10050 E. Harvard Ave. The garage had been closed for renovation.
Pixley said MEI Total Elevator Solutions monitors the elevator for Woodstream. MEI did not reply to several phone messages left by The Denver Post seeking comment.
“We are saddened by the tragic loss of life and extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Komisarchik’s family and friends,” Greystar Management Services, which manages Woodstream, said in a statement released by spokeswoman Lindsay Andrews.
She wrote that the elevator was not in use due to the renovation and said Greystar is “continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident with the local authorities.”
She declined to comment about why no one responded to the emergency calls.
Denver Medical Examiner spokesman Steven Castro said the cause of Komisarchik’s death has not yet been determined. Pixley said it can be difficult to determine a cause of death when a body is badly decomposed.
Numerous Woodstream residents complained to managers of a strong odor emanating from the garage area but nothing was done. Andrews declined to comment about the complaints.
The fact that Komisarchik pushed the emergency button twice adds a perplexing dimension to the incident. It appears Komisarchik did what he needed to do to get help, yet the closely regulated system for rescuing people trapped in elevators failed.
“The elevator wasn’t inoperable,” said John White, spokesman for Denver police, contradicting numerous reports that elevator was not working. “How he got in there and when he got in there is obviously what we’re trying to figure out.”
Misconceptions about the discovery of Komisarchik’s body make it impossible to fully grasp just how bizarre the incident was, according to officials and residents of the apartment complex. Some officials initially reported that Komisarchik’s body was found in the elevator shaft, Pixley said.
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