The man who was with Jerry Fuchs during his final moments in an elevator in Williamsburg says he hasn't been able to sleep since the incident on early Sunday morning. The Daily News talked to Stephen Alessi, who was going to the same party, but didn't know Fuchs personally. He told the paper, "I tried to reach out for him. I was too far and it happened so fast, in a split second."
Alessi jumped off the unmanned freight elevator first, when it became stuck between two floors. He said it didn't seem like a big jump, but as soon as he was safely on the 5th floor and looked back, he realized how large the gap was behind him. Fuchs followed and actually landed on the floor with both feet, but his hoodie got caught on the elevator and gave him a little tug back," causing him to fall down the shaft.
A lawyer for the owner of the 338 Berry Street building said that elevator isn't normally in operation past business hours, and they are now looking in to who was manning it at that hour. Yesterday it was noted that there was an elevator operator who may have been hired by the Uniform Project (who were hosting the party Fuchs was attending) — however that wasn't made clear to guests, and when Fuchs showed up to an empty elevator he had no way of knowing to wait.
The DoB hasn't responded to our requests about the prior violations the building has received, including an elevator violation that was "dismissed" on October 30th. They did tell the News that their "investigation has shown so far that there is nothing wrong with the elevator."