A broken pipe sent water pouring down a stairwell and into an occupied elevator near the top of the World Trade Center Tuesday afternoon. Multiple videos posted online by office workers at the building showed ringing alarm bells and water running in places where it definitely should not be. Leaks were found on numerous floors, including the 82nd and 85th levels, and numerous elevators were disabled as firefighters worked to rescue people stuck inside of at least one flooded lift.
There is water rushing in the elevators on the 82nd floor of the WTC. You can hear it. Some people are in the elevators. This is terrifying pic.twitter.com/AmttytC06k
— Emily C. Singer (@CahnEmily) September 26, 2017
The leaks in the stairway @ 85th floor One WTC pic.twitter.com/nvtVE7ebfW
— Shashank Singh (@shankybaba) September 26, 2017
Mic.com, which has offices on the 82nd floor of 1 WTC, was directly impacted by the leak after its Director of Studio and Technology, Alan Haburchak, became trapped in an elevator hundreds of feet above ground. In a phone call with Gothamist, Haburchak described hearing the sound of water rushing onto the roof of his elevator shortly after 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"Just as the doors closed, I noted the water was dripping from the inside corners of the elevator. It went on for five or ten seconds until I heard a popping sound. And then I looked up and saw smoke coming from the ceiling."
Haburchak, 34, pressed the emergency alarm button and stopped the elevator just below the 76th floor. "I was pretty scared. I just had a baby 10 weeks ago, so that was my first thought," he said.
After 20 minutes of being stuck between floors, Haburchak eventually heard voices through the elevator door telling him to step back. By 1 p.m. he had been safely helped onto the 76th floor by emergency responders.
In an email, Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman confirmed that a condenser pipe attached to 1 WTC's air conditioning system broke near the 88th floor, sending water cascading down stairwells and into elevator banks. No injuries were reported as a result of the damage and cleaning crews have been dispatched to the impacted floors.
"I've never been so happy to see a bunch of firemen," Haburchak said. According to an FDNY spokesman, six firefighters responded to the stuck elevator and removed a total of three people—Haburchak included—from stalled lifts.