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12 People Trapped in Hot WaHi Subway Elevator

By Carla Zanoni | June 2, 2010 8:33am | Updated on June 2, 2010 8:58am

By Carla Zanoni

DNAinfo Reporter/ Producer

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A dozen straphangers were stuck in a hot, stuffy and humid elevator for more than an hour Tuesday afternoon when the unit at the 168th Street 1 train subway station broke down.

Once freed, five of the riders were taken upstairs to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital with symptoms of heat exhaustion after being stuck from 4:30 to 5:36 p.m., fire officials said.

“And you know it was hot today,” one MTA worker who was on duty said. “Imagine what that must have been like.”

Transit officials said the cause of the mishap was under investigation. The MTA's website lists elevator 112 as being out of service as of Tuesday, and estimates it will be repaired by 11:59 p.m. on June 3.

The station is one of the deepest underground in the subway system. Riders can only get to the platform by taking the elevators.

“Of course I would be scared if I were stuck in a box like that,” rider Feordaliza Reyes, 48, who was on her way home from visiting a friend at the hospital when she heard the news of the elevator failure, said pointing at the lift.

Willi Lara, 34, said he rides the 1 train line several times a week.

“I’d be a little scared and definitely uncomfortable,” he said. “It’s too hot in there.”

Fire officials said the FDNY responds to failed elevator calls hundreds of times each week across the city, but added it's rare to get an elevator call in the subway system.