Portland, Ore. — Portland Fire & Rescue executed the successful rescue of two individuals trapped in separate inoperable elevator cars within the Wells Fargo Center building in Downtown Portland. The incident began when PF&R responded to reports of an individual stuck in an elevator, initiating their arrival with a single truck company at approximately 5 PM.
Upon their arrival, efforts to assist were underway, and the elevator service company joined the scene, transferring the situation to the elevator technicians. Following exhaustive attempts to restart the elevator and the discovery of another occupied car inoperative, an emergency call was made, prompting a high angle rope rescue. Sixteen rope technicians from Portland Fire, along with the initial responding truck company, totaling 20 firefighters, were present.
The rescue involved setting up a rope system, allowing a rescuer to be lowered to each inoperable elevator car. Both occupants were safely removed and returned to the lobby.
The nature of the Wells Fargo Center’s elevator structure restricted access to the affected elevators, exclusively reachable from floors 21 and higher. This compelled the technical rescue team to establish their entry point on the 21st floor. The occupant in the first car, estimated to be around the 3rd floor level, was safely evacuated after nearly 4 ½ hours.
The second rescue, estimated to be only 30′ to 40′ below the entry point, was swiftly conducted. The occupant was safely removed after being stuck for a similar length of time, nearing 5 hours.
Portland Fire praised the collaborative efforts of American Medical Response, building staff, and Schindler Elevators’ technicians. The cause of the elevator malfunctions remains undetermined.
The rope rescue operation, a skill regularly trained by the technical rescue team, relied on a dual location setup, enabling a prompt response from either side of the Willamette River. The process involved a redundant safety system ensuring operational efficiency and safety during such operations.