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State inspector found in March that elevator which killed Boston lecturer had a stop-switch problem

A Massachusetts inspector found in March that the elevator that killed a university lecturer had a stop-switch problem, according to information released by the Office of Public Safety and Inspections. 

Boston University lecturer, Carrier O’Connor, 38, was crushed to death Monday evening while trying to load a bed frame and a mattress into the elevator of her 1920s building at 1140 Commonwealth Avenue in Allston.

At the time of the accident, management at the building confirmed that the elevator had been inspected recently. 

And according to the Boston Business Journal, which obtained the report from the inspections office, an inspector found a stop-switch problem with the elevator on March 26 during the elevator’s annual inspection. 

According to the violation notice, the inspector only listed the ‘car stop switch’ as a problem without adding details about what was wrong with it. 

Boston University lecturer, Carrie O'Connor, 38

Carrie O'Connor

Boston University lecturer, Carrier O’Connor (left and right), 38, was crushed to death Monday evening while trying to load a bed frame and a mattress into the elevator of her 1920s building at 1140 Commonwealth Avenue in Allston 

A data report from the Office of Public Safety and Inspections, an inspector found a stop-switch problem with the elevator (pictured) on March 26 during the elevator's annual inspection

A data report from the Office of Public Safety and Inspections, an inspector found a stop-switch problem with the elevator (pictured) on March 26 during the elevator’s annual inspection

The building’s landlord was then given 60 days to make the repair, but the elevator was allowed to continue operation, according to the Boston Business Journal. 

On April 22, Commonwealth Elevator, which services elevators, notified the state inspections office that the violation had been addressed. 

According to the Journal, a mechanic swore under penalty of perjury that the problem had been fixed. 

The building was then given an inspection certificate that does not expire until March 2021.

It’s unclear if the stop-switch played a role in O’Connor’s death. 

A DailyMail.com request for comment to Commonwealth Elevator was not immediately returned. 

As the investigation continued, authorities revealed that O’Connor became trapped in the doorway of the first floor and the elevator, according to a police report, obtained by the Boston Globe

O’Connor was pronounced dead at the scene and her body was extracted by Boston firefighters. 

Firefighters are seen outside the apartment complex in Allston, Boston on Monday

Firefighters are seen outside the apartment complex in Allston, Boston on Monday

Authorities (pictured exiting the building) said O'Connor was found in the elevator on the first floor. She was pronounced dead at the scene

Authorities (pictured exiting the building) said O’Connor was found in the elevator on the first floor. She was pronounced dead at the scene

In the report, police wrote that O’Connor’s ‘mattress and frame were also removed from the scene and held in the garage area’. The items are being held at this time ‘as evidence,’ police added.  

Following the accident, tenant Leanne Scorzoni, said the elevator didn’t feel ‘dangerous or broken’. 

‘But I will say it feels as if you’re riding in an antique,’ she continued. ‘It’s not always a good feeling.’

Scorzoni also told the Boston Globe, that she spoke with a man who had been helping O’Connor right before she was killed at the building located at 1140 Commonwealth Ave in Allston.

While the elevator usually works via a two-door system that requires the second door to be firmly shut before moving, it’s believed the weight triggered a sensor by fault.

‘I heard it, he saw everything,’ tenant Leanne Scorzoni said. ‘He was helping her with a box into the building and he was going up the stairs, and he told her “hey, just be careful because it’s an old-fashioned elevator.”‘ 

Scorzoni described the scene as ‘horrifying’.

‘I don’t know what type of elevator it is, but you have to pull the door across and then step in and then press the button,’ she said. 

Scorzoni added that she was told the elevator had a sensor, and the man who was helping O’Connor believes that the package may have triggered the sensor, which caused it to start moving.   

She told the Boston Globe that there is a staircase next to the elevator, and the man helping O’Connor was talking to her as he was going up. 

Tenant, Leanne Scorzoni (pictured), said she spoke with a man who had been helping O’Connor right before she was killed at the building located at 1140 Commonwealth Ave in Allston. Scorzoni said the man told her to 'be careful' while using the elevator

Tenant, Leanne Scorzoni (pictured), said she spoke with a man who had been helping O’Connor right before she was killed at the building located at 1140 Commonwealth Ave in Allston. Scorzoni said the man told her to ‘be careful’ while using the elevator 

'It's a two-slide door system and unless that door is completely shut, it does not move ever,' tenant Nevada Foskit (pictured) said. 'If something did happen, it clearly had to be faulty'

‘It’s a two-slide door system and unless that door is completely shut, it does not move ever,’ tenant Nevada Foskit (pictured) said. ‘If something did happen, it clearly had to be faulty’

‘He just said “oh, I don’t think that’s gonna fit in there.” And then she’s like, “oh, I’ll try it one more time”. And then I heard her screaming, and I heard him screaming,’ she told the publication.  

Scorzoni added that the man was screaming and pointing when she emerged from her first floor apartment. 

‘When I looked at the elevator, it was not there. Only the ceiling of the car was on my floor, so all the cables were there,’ she said.  

Scorzoni said she did not know O’Connor, and the French lecturer had only recently moved into the building. 

Other residents in the building reported hearing screams at the time of the tragic accident. An unidentified witness told Boston 25 News that she ‘heard just an ungodly scream’.

‘We ran into the hallway and saw a gentlemen who was in distress screaming and hyperventilating and saying she’s dead, she’s dead’.

The building’s residents weren’t allowed inside for about 90 minutes as police worked the scene and were told that the elevator was stuck between the first floor and the basement. 

Eric Carmichael told CBS that his wife was on the first floor when the accident occurred.  

In a statement, a spokesperson from the state's Division of Professional Licensure said officials from the Office of Public Safety and Inspections determined that the elevator was recently inspected and certified in accordance with state regulations

In a statement, a spokesperson from the state’s Division of Professional Licensure said officials from the Office of Public Safety and Inspections determined that the elevator was recently inspected and certified in accordance with state regulations

The elevator became stuck between the first floor and the basement, which is where the washers and dryers are in the building

The elevator became stuck between the first floor and the basement, which is where the washers and dryers are in the building 

The building (pictured) itself dates back to 1920, according to tax records, but it's unclear when the elevator was installed

The building (pictured) itself dates back to 1920, according to tax records, but it’s unclear when the elevator was installed

He said she told him that it all happened so fast and there was nothing she could do to help.   

‘The lady was trying to put her package into the elevator, like that’s how we do it. Take it from the lobby,’ Carmichael told the station. 

‘I guess maybe the package and the woman were over the limit of what the elevator could handle so then what my wife said she saw was the lady’s arms like hanging onto her package.’

Carmichael called the accident terrifying because any it could have been any of the residents inside when the elevator malfunctioned.  

‘Terrible old elevator that should have been probably kept up better,’ he added.

Another resident told CBS that the elevator is an old system. 

‘It’s a two-slide door system and unless that door is completely shut, it does not move ever,’ Nevada Foskit said. ‘If something did happen, it clearly had to be faulty.’

Police and officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are still investigating. 

Boston police sergeant Detective John Boyle said her cause of death was traumatic asphyxia, and the manner was accidental. 

According to O’Connor’s biography on the Boston University website, she has taught ‘a wide range of courses throughout her career, including French language, French for Business, Conversational French, French literature in translation, and French culture through gastronomy’.

She previously taught at Bentley University, Louisiana State University, MIT, Northeastern University, and Tufts University. 

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