By Seth Daniel
It reads like an off-color joke, but it wasn’t any joke on Monday night when a councillor, a reverend, a Republican and a clerk with a phobia of elevators got trapped for 45-minutes in the City Hall elevator.
“We were cool; no one freaked out,” said Rev. Sandra Whitley, who was stuck with Planning Board member Todd Taylor (the Republican), Councillor Leo Robinson and Council Administrative Assistant Ledia Koco. “These firefighters are amazing and they need all the credit. Stuck for almost 45 minutes, they kept asking if we were alright, plugging away until they had to almost blast the metal doors apart.”
The firefighters involved in the rescue were Capt. Paul Doherty, Mark Chiaradonna, Gary Poulin, Angel Arrieta, Kevin DeJesus and Lt. Andrew Cerratani.
The situation unfolded Monday after the Council let out for the night. Due to the fact that the stairs in City Hall were being replaced, most everyone had to take the elevator to get down. It gave the old lift quite a workout, and apparently, then those four got on and started going down – everything stopped.
It took some time before anyone realized they were trapped, but enough people were still around to hear them calling for help.
Chelsea Fire was alerted and City Manager Tom Ambrosino directed them to where it was believed the four were stuck.
Firefighters tried to pry open the elevator, but it wasn’t budging.
Firefighters then had to deploy other tools, including an inflatable air bag, to open the doors.
Finally, the job was done and the four emerged from the elevator.
“I was just glad those other three were with me, because these days, if it were just me, they might have left me in there,” joked Taylor.