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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Amazing Scenes Were Witnessed Today: Firemen Free Antsy Library Patrons Trapped In Elevator

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 5:30 AM

'Sir, please move your fingers...' - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • 'Sir, please move your fingers...'
Midday patrons of the San Francisco Public Library are experts at tuning out distractions -- a man bellowing in the main branch's atrium while twirling about, arms extended, like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music comes to mind.

That being said, a persistent alarm emanating from a third floor elevator and a bevy of uniformed personnel scurrying about and barking into walkie-talkies tends to disrupt whatever it is people do at 1 p.m. on a Friday at the library -- and draw gawking onlookers.

A trio of San Francisco firefighters shouted into the one-inch crack in the door of the third-floor elevator, raising their voices to combat the din of the alarm (which had been ringing for at least 20 minutes). Their repeated refrain: "Please move your fingers, sir!"

At times, the firemen employed a fire engine-red metal bar resembling the steroidally enhanced larger cousin of your garden variety crowbar. This did not seem to budge the elevator's doors much at all, but did offer more opportunities to shout at the folks trapped within to move their fingers. Later, a long metal pole was jammed in the door as well, but this, too, provided no relief. (By the way -- you should never, never, NEVER attempt to get out of a stuck elevator unless your life is on the line. Here's why.)

Finally, after about 50 minutes of captivity, the firemen decided to move to Plan B. The motivating factor seemed to be that "There's an old man in there sitting on the floor." (We think they said "sitting." Let us hope.)  There were some differing opinions on what Plan B should entail -- at one point a voice audibly crackled over a security guard's walkie-talkie "If SFFD is calling for this, I can't stop them." A young firefighter laughed. "Yeah, you can't stop us!"

'bookends' are deployed... - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • 'bookends' are deployed...
He stuck a device resembling a pair of bookends in the elevator door. Like Sampson, it pushed mightily to either side, and opened the double-doors. An older man and a young guy wearing a Chicago Bulls Dennis Rodman jersey stumbled out as if in a daze. A teenage girl angrily fast-walked through the throng of security personnel.

She did not thank the men who'd spent about 50 minutes getting her out of the elevator.

"Jacob," the guy in the Rodman jersey, says he's fine after spending 50-odd minutes trapped in an elevator - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • "Jacob," the guy in the Rodman jersey, says he's fine after spending 50-odd minutes trapped in an elevator
Out of service - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • Out of service

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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