Water traps and drowns woman in elevator

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12 Dead in Allison's Flooding


12:26 PM June 10, 2001

HOUSTON The remnants of slow-moving Tropical Storm Allison had been blamed for 12 deaths on Sunday, as numerous streets and highways remained under water, authorities said. Officials had attributed 12 deaths in the Houston area to the storm, said John Brite, an investigator with the Harris County medical examiner's office. He said autopsies had not been completed. ......

Houston Mayor Lee Brown said one of the deaths was a woman who drowned in a downtown office building when an elevator took her into a flooded basement. "It appears that water began rushing into the elevator and it malfunctioned and she drowned in the elevator," said Robert Hurst, a police spokesman. "She didn't even make it to her car parked on the fourth level."

Hurst said the 42-year-old law firm employee had intended to move her car from the Bank of America's four-level underground parking garage, the Houston Chronicle reported in its online edition Saturday.

"The woman went down in the elevator after a broadcast was made in the building by the security department that water was coming into the parking garage and anyone in the building should go down and move their cars," Hurst said. The woman was the only person in the elevator. She drowned when water rushed into the elevator while on the third level of the garage, Hurst said.

Her body was discovered about 8:30 a.m. after maintenance crews noticed that the elevator had stalled. They manually brought the elevator to the lobby level.

The woman and some of her colleagues had stayed the night at the law office when they realized they could not make it home because of the flooding, Hurst said.



-- Rich Marsh (marshr@airmail.net), June 11, 2001

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