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story.lead_photo.caption Pulaski County coroner’s van is parked Wednesday afternoon in front of 2900 N. Taylor St. in Little Rock. - Photo by Jeff Mitchell

A 2-year-old boy died Wednesday in what authorities called an elevator accident at a Little Rock home located in the city's Heights neighborhood, a Fire Department spokesman said.

Photo by Jeff Mitchell
Little Rock police detectives gather on the porch of 2900 N. Taylor St. on Wednesday after a 2-year-old toddler was killed in an elevator accident.

Firefighters were dispatched around noon to 2900 North Taylor St. upon a report of a child trapped underneath an elevator, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Jason Weaver.

When they arrived, authorities found the boy trapped in the first-floor elevator shaft, he said. The boy was unresponsive to firefighters, he said.

Authorities lifted the elevator off the boy within 30 minutes, Weaver said, using air bags and by cranking the elevator manually.

The boy had died by that time, Weaver said, and any rescue effort would not have been productive. The toddler was not identified Wednesday.

It was unclear Wednesday how the child got into the shaft. Other circumstances surrounding his death were not available.

Officer Richard Hilgeman, a Little Rock police spokesman, said investigators ruled the death an accident.

Little Rock authorities were called to the scene after a woman waved down a Cammack Village police officer, who then called Little Rock authorities, Weaver said.

Police were investigating the circumstances around the death and whether the elevator malfunctioned, he said.

"You know, anything mechanical can fail," Weaver said.

Weaver said residential elevators have safety regulations similar to commercial elevators, but different standards. He said sometimes people with disabilities have elevators in their homes.

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The Fire Department does not respond to many elevator malfunctions, he said, unless there is a trapped person.

The toddler's body was carried from the house by Pulaski County coroner's office personnel as residents stood in a nearby yard.

The death occurred at a two-story structure. According to Pulaski County property records, the residence is owned by Janet Hartz.

Little Rock homicide detectives were also on the scene to investigate the death. Homicide detectives are responsible for investigating all non-natural deaths, including suicides, industrial accidents, stabbings and shootings.

Weaver, who arrived on the scene shortly before the elevator was lifted, said it was a tense scene as the child did not respond.

Weaver said officials with his department have access to an employee-assistance program and, if necessary, can be given time off to deal with the death.

Information for this article was contributed by Emma Pettit and Brandon Riddle of Arkansas Online.

Metro on 02/02/2017

Print Headline: Toddler dies under home elevator; LR firefighters lift it off boy, 2; fatality deemed accidental

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