Boy (7) awarded €40,000 after being trapped in elevator for almost 45 minutes


9 July 2019

A seven-year-old boy, who became trapped in an elevator which had to be broken open by the fire brigade, has been awarded damages of €40,000 in the Circuit Civil Court.

Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, heard the lift had to be broken open after Jamie Ward of Abbot Court, Cualanore, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin had been trapped at the apartment complex where he lived.

Barrister Siobhán Kelly, counsel for Jamie, told the court that the lift had suddenly lost power leaving Jamie and his father trapped inside. She said there had been a number of unsuccessful attempts to open the doors by his dad and others who had also been trapped.

Ms Kelly said that after five minutes Jamie, who sued the lift company and the flats complex through his father, John Ward, had panicked when an alarm had sounded causing him further distress. She said he suffered from asthma and his father, on the emergency phone, had warned that the lift was becoming extremely hot for his son and the others inside.

Ms Kelly, who appeared with her solicitor, said that only on the fourth alarm call had Mr Ward been informed the fire brigade had not been alerted. She said the operator had begun hanging up and placing Mr Ward on hold.

In her professional opinion to the court Ms Kelly stated that after 40 minutes the emergency services had arrived and had difficulty accessing the lift. They had to go to the floor above and fire fighters had to get those trapped inside to push and bang the doors.

Eventually a gap had been made between the doors and the trapped people were rescued. Ms Kelly said Jamie had not had his inhalers with him at the time.

Ms Kelly said Jamie, who is now 10-years-old, had to be placed against a cold steel wall to be cooled down. He had been very shocked and distressed and had scraped his leg on the way out.

Judge Groarke heard that Jamie had suffered serious trauma as a result of the incident and the joint defendants, Limerick-based Orona Midwestern Lifts Limited and Wyse Property Management Ltd, Dublin, had made a settlement offer of €40,000 which she was recommending to the court and which was approved.

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