Boy, 7, Dies After Being Crushed by Outer Banks Vacation Rental's Elevator: 'Terrible Tragedy'
“We are not sure exactly how it happened,” Currituck County Fire-EMS Chief Ralph Melton said
A 7-year-old boy died on Sunday after a tragic elevator accident on the first day of his family's holiday to North Carolina.
The child was visiting the Outer Banks from Canton, Ohio when emergency personnel responded to a call at around 7 p.m. about a boy who got stuck in the vacation home's elevator, Wavy reported.
Upon arrival at the house on Franklyn Street in Currituck County, officials tried to resuscitate the child but were unsuccessful, per the outlet. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Corolla Fire Chief Rich Shortway told The Washington Post they found the boy "trapped between the bottom of the elevator car and the home's upper door frame."
"It's just such a terrible tragedy," he told The Post, revealing the family had arrived in the vacation home earlier in the morning.
"We are not sure exactly how it happened," Currituck County Fire-EMS Chief Ralph Melton said to The Coastland Times.
Melton told the outlet, there have been other "close calls" of children endangered in home elevators, but this is the first death that has occurred in the Outer Banks town.
Currituck County Sheriff's Office conducted an investigation into the incident and determined it was an accident, The Outer Banks Voice reported.
The child died in an elevator manufactured by Custom Elevator Manufacturing Inc., Chief Shortway told The Post. The company did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
According to the outlet, at least eight children have died and two have been seriously injured in elevator accidents between 1981 and 2019. Although, experts estimate the number is significantly higher.
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Just last week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted to sue thyssenkrupp Access, another elevator company tied to one child's death and another's serious injury, a report obtained by The Post shows.
The report says the gap between the main elevator door and the elevator car door needs to be altered as currently it can be is wide enough that a small child can slip through.
The regulatory agency is championing for the elevator company to notify customers about the danger and offer free inspections and repairs.
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After that report was made public earlier this month, thyssenkrupp Access Corp. said CPSC was putting "semantics ahead of real attempts to make consumers safer while conveniently ignoring the facts that the CPSC has been fully aware of thyssenkrupp Access Corp.'s communication outreach efforts for years, and the agency has chosen to not lend its support to either the current or prior home elevator safety program."
"CPSC knows that for years thyssenkrupp Access Corp. has worked to help homeowners address improper third-party installations of home elevators that were delivered to dealers by the company before it exited the residential elevator business in 2012," the company said in a statement. "Elevators installed with an excessive gap space between hoistway and elevator doors create a potential child entrapment hazard, which could cause serious injuries or even death."
"For years, thyssenkrupp Access Corp. has urged, and still today urges, owners of homes where any thyssenkrupp Access Corp. elevator was installed to take immediate action to prevent children from using or accessing the elevator until the home has been checked to see if there is an excessive gap space and space guards installed to reduce that gap space."
The company added that qualifying homeowners "can register for free gap space measurement assistance and free space guards to reduce excessive gap spaces at homelevator-safety.com or by calling, toll-free, 1-800-285-9862."