TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The number of 911 calls made from elevators in the Phoenix and Tempe areas has risen steadily over the past five years. Technicians blame a "perfect storm" of new and aging buildings.

"No elevator is going to run perfectly all the time," said Scott Brugh from Arizona Elevator Solutions.

He said the Valley's building boom, along with aging elevators in older buildings are combining to keep elevator technicians and service companies busier than they have even been here in the Valley.

Brugh says older elevators start to wear out after about 25 years, but there are plenty of 40 to 60-year old elevators operating here.

Even new elevators don't function perfectly right away.

"Once the elevator is completely done, you have to make sure it’s adjusted properly. So you have to make sure it’s calibrated right, that it’s synced to the floors perfectly - because it doesn’t take much for an elevator to get out of sync and cause and elevator shut down," said Brugh.

CBS 5 Investigates analyzed 911 calls from across Phoenix and Tempe over the past two to four years.

The building with the highest number of 911 calls in that time period is a student housing apartment near the ASU Tempe campus. Riders called 911 32 times from University House over two years.

That building is only six years old.

In Phoenix, over the course of four years, riders called 911 from one of the University of Phoenix office buildings off I-10 34 times.

A medical center on west Buckeye accounted for 31 911 calls, citing elevator entrapment.

Next in the list is a state office building near 44th Street & Indian School. Elevators in that building accounted for 30 911 calls over four years.

Scott Brugh says getting stuck in an elevator is not something to be worried about. The cars usually restart, or a technician is able to get the doors open fairly quickly.

"It's not like the movies," Brugh said. "They're not going to drop."

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
 
 


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