A woman died in a tragic elevator accident Wednesday on the campus of Cal State University Long Beach, according to the Long Beach Fire Department.
The accident occurred on the third floor of the Foundation Building, at Palo Verde Avenue and Anaheim Road sometime around 9:00 a.m., the fire department said.
The woman, identified as 48-year-old Annette Lujan, mother of two, was apparently stuck in the elevator for some time. For reasons that are not yet clear, the doors of the elevator were wedged open between the second and third floors, the fire department said.
Lujan, who was an employee at the University, tried to crawl out to the third floor when the elevator, weighing over 2, 000 pounds, moved, crushing her.
"The elevator was stuck between floors and it appears she tried to get out somehow. When she got halfway out, the elevator moved ," said Long Beach Fire Department Capt. Rich Brandt
There have been no problems reported with the elevator in the past and it was up to code, according to Toni Beron, associate vice president of University Relations.
The elevators were inspected last April according to Cal/OSHA, but several employees said they haven't been working well for the past couple of weeks.
Beron called Wednesday's accident "devastating news" saying, " It's a horrible tragic accident and right now we are very focused on figuring out how it happened."
In a statement, the university said it has "endured a terrible tragedy."
"I am very sad to inform you that this morning, due to an unfortunate incident at the Foundation Building, a member of our campus community has died. At this time, we are notifying family members and a complete investigation involving University Police and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office has been initiated," Mary Stephens, Vice President, Administration and Finance, wrote.
The university is in shock and has sent its "deepest condolences to the family," she said.
The identity of the victim has not been released, but officials confirmed the woman worked on campus in the Office of Research for Grants and Contracts.
Leslie Davila, a student worries about what this might mean for the safety of other elevators, saying "Now it makes you think of the other buildings. It happened here what if there is another faulty elevator in another building."
The front part of State University Drive was closed while officials investigated.
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