Maleek Ricks works security at 156 Hope Street, the high-end Williamsburg apartment building where a man died on Friday when an elevator suddenly dropped, crushing him between the elevator roof and the lobby floor. Ricks is not eager to stick around at his current job, but for now he is avoiding the elevator.
"I feel sorry for that dude," Ricks told the Daily News, referring to victim Eran Modan, a 37-year-old Israeli who was visiting a friend from his home in Maspeth when he was killed.
Reports suggest that as many as 14 people were inside the elevator when it dropped suddenly and pinned Modan as he tried to escape. However, the New York Times reports that even such a load would likely not put the elevator much over its 2,100 weight limit, and elevator braking systems are typically designed to support at least 125 percent of listed capacity. Micks did his own speculating when speaking to the News.
"[Modan] probably tried to be Superman," he said. "But, honestly, I don't even want to be here no more. It's not worth my life."
Experts and an unnamed city official told the Times it appears that the elevator's brake, which is supposed to keep it from dropping, couldn't hold the load early on Friday morning. "[The brake] should have held it at the floor," elevator consultant Michael Fagan said, adding, "The question is, was there a mechanical or design defect with the system?"
Modan and friends had just returned from watching a friend play a DJ set in Manhattan, and a building worker told the News there was evidence of a rooftop party that night.
Friend and fellow Burning Man devotee Rafi Ashkenazi wrote a tribute to Modan on Facebook:
RIP Eran Modan Brother,Friend,Wild spirit ,i can't stop Hoping it's just a Bad Dream and wish to wake up to reality with you being alive. so sooo sad my heart is torn,you will be missed ,So Sad !!!
The city's investigation into the cause of the elevator malfunction is ongoing, but building manager Goose Property Management had no doubt about what caused it, referring to the fatal drop in an email to residents as "an act of God."