- The Washington Times - Friday, August 11, 2006

D.C. firefighters yesterday rescued a family of five, including three children, who were trapped for more than two hours in an elevator about 65 feet below ground at a Metro station in Northwest.

Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said the family got stuck at 3:46 p.m., when an elevator serving the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan station stopped as it was heading up to street level.

Alan Etter, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department, said the family from the Dominican Republic included a 1-year-old boy and two girls, ages 9 and 12 years old.

“They were tourists here in D.C., and they were getting ready to go to the zoo,” Mr. Etter said.

Two rescue squads responded along with firefighters from the special operations division.

Three firefighters were lowered into the shaft on cables to assess the condition of the family members, who were outfitted with a harness and pulled up to street level individually after Metro officials were unable to get the elevator moving.

“It was quite dramatic,” Mr. Etter said.

Firefighters brought up the mother first, then the children and the father last, Mr. Etter said.

He said the family was in good spirits through the ordeal and that the two girls seemed to enjoy the ride up the shaft.

He said the 1-year-old cried all the way up the shaft until he was reunited with his mother.

The family was assessed by emergency medical technicians in an ambulance at the scene but did not suffer any injuries, Mr. Etter said.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital with a hand injury.

Mr. Etter said the children were not a complication to the rescue, but they did add an emotional component to the rescue.

The situation in the elevator was “uncomfortable” but not dangerous, he said.

Mr. Taubenkibel said the elevator recently had been malfunctioning and went back into service at the end of last month.

However, he said firefighters were called in to rescue people from the elevator as recently as last weekend, after it got stuck Aug. 5 and 6.

He said a blown fuse was to blame for the mechanical problems last weekend but that officials were not sure what caused the malfunction yesterday.

Metro operates about 250 elevators, of which about 20 are out of service on any given day, according to the agency’s Web site at www.wmata.com.

The elevator at the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan station was expected to be out of service until at least Monday.

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