In his 34 years with the New York Fire Department, Capt. James Melvin has seen his share of stuck elevators. But he had never witnessed anything quite like what happened Sunday on Staten Island.
Two construction workers were stuck in an elevator that was filling with water, Captain Melvin explained, with a hint of amazement in his voice. By the time firefighters arrived, the water level had risen as high as the two trapped men’s necks.
“We’ve had plenty of elevator emergencies, but never one that’s down sinking in water,” said Captain Melvin, of Ladder Company 86 on Richmond Avenue. As for the two men, he added, “They were happy to see us.”
The men were working in the former Staten Island Hotel in Graniteville, which is being renovated into an assisted-living residence for older people.
About 9 a.m., the two workers were riding in the elevator and discovered that the door did not open. The men, identified as Edward Tyler and Wendell Amaker, began to hit the buttons for various floors in the hope that the doors on one of them would work.
“They figured they’d try the basement level,” Captain Melvin said.
On another day, that would probably have been fine, but the rainfall on Sunday had led to severe flooding in the basement. And when the elevator neared the basement level, “it hit water and started sinking slowly, until it sank to the bottom of the shaft,” Captain Melvin said.
The two men were alone in the building, he added. There was no one inside to hear their shouts, and a security guard outside was unaware of the disaster unfolding inside, Captain Melvin said.
With a cellphone the men reached the Fire Department. While neither knew the precise address of the building, they said it was near the intersection of Richmond Avenue and Christopher Lane.
When firefighters finally found them, about an hour after their initial call, the two men were standing atop the plastic cart they had been using to transport supplies between floors. Even with the cart’s added height, the water was up to their necks, and about three feet from the elevator’s ceiling, Captain Melvin said.
August 16, 2011
July 19, 2011
A UPS truck was unlucky enough to get caught on a Maryland bridge above the Potomac River Friday during a thunderstorm with 60-mph winds. The driver was lucky enough to avoid the water 135 feet below — by mere inches.
Authorities say the truck was kept from plunging off the Harry Nice Memorial Bridge in Charles County, Md., by “the grace of God.”
July 4, 2011
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Sort of makes you wonder why they bother, doesn’t it?
June 26, 2011
World’s tallest sand castle: 37-foot, 10-inches!
As you can probably imagine by looking at the photos below, Ed used more than just a sand bucket and shovel to complete his masterpiece, In fact, he needed the help of 1,500 volunteers, who worked a total of 2,500 hours turning 1.6 million pounds of sand into a record-breaking castle.
Work on the castle began on April 1st, and the completed structure was ready for official measurement seven weeks later, on May 20. According to Laura Ward, public relations official for Jarrett’s Castle, the work was initially supposed to be even taller, at 38 feet and 75 inches, but after a blue bird decided to scrape the top of the castle and meteorologists announced hostile weather conditions, the team hurried to get the sand castle certified before it got even shorter. Still, at 37 feet, 10 inches, Jarrett’s Castle is still easily the tallest sand castle in the world.
June 15, 2011
June 12, 2011
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June 12, 2011
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I doubt I could do this:
A mother whose only child was shot dead has shown the ultimate forgiveness – by inviting her son’s killer to live next door.
Mary Johnson, 59, now lives in the apartment adjoining the home of 34-year-old Oshea Israel and they share a porch.
In February 1993, Mrs Johnson’s son, Laramiun Byrd, 20, was shot in the head by 16-year-old Israel after an argument at a party in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Israel, who was involved with drugs and gangs, was tried as an adult and sentenced to 25 and a half years. He served 17 before being released.
She sought a relationship with him:
Then just a few years ago, the 59-year-old teacher and devout Christian, asked if she could meet Israel at Minnesota’s Stillwater state prison.
She said she felt compelled to see if there was a way in which she could forgive her son’s killer.
At first he refused but then nine months later, changed his mind. Israel said he was shocked by the fact she wanted to meet him.
He said: ‘I believe the first thing she said to me was, ”Look, you don’t know me. I don’t know you. Let’s just start with right now.”
‘And I was befuddled myself.’
The pair met regularly after that. When Israel was released from prison around 18 months ago, Mrs Johnson introduced him to her landlord – who with her blessing, invited Israel to move into the building.