A woman was rescued Monday morning after being trapped in the elevator at an Upper East Side townhouse since Friday. Marites Fortaliza, 53, is now recovering from the ordeal in New Jersey, and she instructed a neighbor to tell reporters that she has no plans to sue the family who own the townhouse: "She says she has no intention to sue her boss,” the neighbor told the Daily News. "She says they treat her very good. She says she's still with her sister and will be back in a week."
Fortaliza told officials she became trapped inside the elevator between the second and third floors of the one-family townhouse on East 65th Street between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue sometime Friday night. Fortaliza has worked as a housekeeper for the owner, billionaire investor and conservative political donor Warren Stephens, for almost 20 years. She was alone inside the townhouse when she got stuck, and the family was away all weekend.
Fortaliza was stuck in the elevator—which the Post says is "a roughly 3-foot by 4-foot metal box"—for at least 60 hours until a courier tried to make a delivery Monday morning. That courier contacted the family, and Stephens’s adult daughter swung by to check things out, discovering the stuck elevator and calling 911. One law-enforcement source told the Post, "who knows how long it would have been before somebody came home and found her."
The Stephens family released a statement about what happened: “The employee involved has been a valued member of the Stephens extended family for 18 years. The Stephens family is relieved that she is doing well in the hospital. A Stephens family member accompanied her to the hospital this morning and remains at her side. The cause of this unfortunate incident is being investigated, and appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that something like this never happens again."
Stephens bought the home in 1999 for $8 million. The elevator had most recently been inspected in July and no violations were filed. But the townhouse has previously been hit with a violation from the city for failing to maintain the elevator in 2008.
DOB inspector Devon Simmons told the Times he did not know whether the elevator had a phone or emergency button in it (buildings that aren't continuously monitored by guards/doormen are required to have buttons or phones in their elevators). The Department of Buildings has now issued a violation to Stephens for this weekend's incident.
While most non-sociopathic people offered an outpouring of sympathy for what happened to Fortaliza, NY1 found one tough guy who had this to say about her predicament: "Humans can last well over 72 hours without water and food, so what she went through isn't anywhere close to the limits of human endurance, but it's just beyond what we're used to be because we're just so civilized, we've lost touch with our true strength."
On @NY1: 53 y/o housekeeper trapped in billionaire's townhouse elevator for 3 days.
Rich UES neighbor: "humans can last 72hrs w/o water... what she went thru isnt anywhere close to human endurance, but its beyond what we're used to be bc we've lost touch w our... strength." 🤯 pic.twitter.com/JP4TgIKh5Y
— Josmar Trujillo (@Josmar_Trujillo) January 28, 2019
A lot of people had understandably strong feelings about what he said:
this guy first in the class wars plz https://t.co/GiBR0cmQ9W
— Jessica Roy (@JessicaKRoy) January 29, 2019
this guy is a real piece of shit! https://t.co/fFNcmGotNt
— Anna Silman (@annaesilman) January 29, 2019
Holy shit, I would love it if this guy got a chance to test his strength, endurance in a similar fashion https://t.co/4jK1BrwBrI
— Will🦕Menaker (@willmenaker) January 29, 2019
[As the guillotine prepares to fall.]
EXECUTIONER: Any last words?
RICH UES NEIGHBOR: My God! Where's the human compassion here!? https://t.co/7fk28q52yn
— Nick Kolakowski (@nkolakowski) January 29, 2019
— Casey Lewis (@cynical_tutu) January 29, 2019
"Lady trapped in an elevator for over two days is too soft" is a wild take even for a stupid rich asshole https://t.co/3sH3VklUZK
— da share my wife z0ne (@brianvan) January 28, 2019
if this world was a just world, a meteorite would have pulverized this prick's skull live on camera right after he said that shit. https://t.co/AibispotHs
— Asinus Pervicax (@Cato_of_Utica) January 29, 2019
if you took away any of these rich assholes' high pressure shower heads for 2 days they'd have to be hospitalized https://t.co/5HenzmIfzY
— maura quint (@behindyourback) January 29, 2019
it would take me 72 seconds to chop off that ponytail https://t.co/RmE2zZzZ8D
— Naomi Fry (@frynaomifry) January 29, 2019
I'm gonna eat this guy https://t.co/K47D0Kq5SQ
— Gabriella Paiella (@GMPaiella) January 29, 2019