Brenden Burk was headed to his on-campus job at the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus, but was late after he got stuck in an elevator at Sakamaki Hall. And he says it's not the first time the elevators have failed in the building.
Burk, a UH student, pressed the button to catch the elevator to his office on the fourth floor at about 12:30 p.m. Friday. "Someone stepped off and I stepped in. And about five seconds in, the lights went dark and the air stopped, and the elevator just stopped moving," he said.
Burk e-mailed Hawaii News Now while he was still stuck in the elevator. He also took a video with his cell phone, showing him pounding the door and pushing the buttons, with no results.
"We didn't even know what floor I was on," he said. "We were trying to find where I was, so I'm ringing the bell and knocking on the door to locate where I was."
Burk was stuck in the elevator for about an hour. He finally found out here he had stopped when crews were able to get him out.
"I ended up somewhere between the first and second floor, and there was a little bit of a small window that I had to crawl out of," said Burk.
Burk used his cell phone to take pictures, showing the bottom half of the elevator on the first floor, and the top half on the second floor.
According to Burk, there have been at least seven incidents in which elevators have stopped working since January. He is a senator with the student government, and said he had been in contact with the chancellor's office about the problem.
"Pretty much the response I've gotten has been, 'I'll get someone right on it.'"
Sakamaki Hall was built in 1976. UH said the elevators in the building have had problems for years because of age.
There are signs in the elevators telling people to watch their step because they don't quite stop level with the floor.
The campus Facilities Maintenance Office told Hawaii News Now, "The elevator company says they are safe, but are subject to unexpected stoppages due to their inability to handle power irregularities (brownouts and surges)."
The office said it was working with the elevator company to fix the problem, but "it is a complex process."
UH said it is currently in the first phase of a project to eventually provide new elevators in 24 buildings. The Sakamaki Hall elevators are scheduled to be replaced at the end of this year or early next year.
It won't come early enough for Burk, who graduates in May. Until then, he says he's taking the stairs to the fourth floor.