WILLIAMSBURG — A Brooklyn man was crushed to death by a malfunctioning elevator early Friday, according to the NYPD.
Eran Modan, 37, originally from Tel Aviv, was in the elevator at 156 Hope St., about 4:18 a.m. when it got stuck between the lobby and the first floor, a police spokesman and sources said.
When Modan, who had just moved into the building, stuck his head out of the car trying to escape, the elevator jerked, crushing his head and torso, sources said.
He suffered trauma to his head and torso and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Modan's friend, Mona Ramsdell, said she was in the elevator with him when it started to malfunction.
“We walked into the elevator and it just went down and it went up. Now my friend is dead because of it,” Ramsdell. “I gave mouth-to-mouth to my friend this morning trying to save his life. I'm really upset."
Dory Wolt, an art teacher who lives next door to a Maspeth home Modan owned, said he was hard-working, nice man.
"It's terrible," she said. "He was just a nice kid trying to make it. I gave a lot of credit to him for taking on being a homeowner."
A resident in the Hope Street building, Pez Epstein, 44, said the elevator has had "lots of problems" in the past.
"It's always made this weird noise, like a rattling," Epstein said. "They came to fix it maybe a month ago. They'd come and fix it and it'd break again."
Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler said the agency was not aware of any "outstanding problems" with the elevator.
"However, my staff here is going to put it through its paces," Chandler told reporters after stopping by the building Friday morning. "We're waiting for some weights to come and we're going to test it fully loaded, category 5 testing, and check all of its parts, so right now the investigation is ongoing."
Investigators would also try to determine if the elevator may have been overloaded at the time of the incident, Chandler added, or if it was trying to level off properly at a floor.
The building had several complaints in 2012 that the elevator would "jerk" and its doors would open between floors, according to the Department of Buildings.
A man who identified himself as a supervisor for the elevator maintenance company said he was "very surprised" by the incident.
"We do routine monthly maintenance on them," said George Herling, who said he worked for P&W Elevators. "I'm very concerned to see what happened."
The company was also listed in DOB records as having inspected the elevator at least five times since 2013, most recently in July, at which time it was deemed "satisfactory."