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Woman killed in CSULB elevator

A woman was crushed by an elevator on the third floor of the Foundation building at Cal State Long Beach Wednesday.

The woman has been identified as 48-year-old Annette Lujan of Huntington Beach. Lujan worked at the Office of University Research at the Foundation building for nine years.

The elevator was stuck between floors and when Lujan tried to escape, the elevator dropped on her, according to Capt. Rich Brandt of the Long Beach Fire Department.

At 9 a.m., University Police received a call reporting an individual stuck in an elevator. Lujan died before the police and Long Beach Fire Department arrived, according to Toni Beron, associate vice president of university relations.

According to Beron, a person was trying to assist Lujan out of the elevator.

The Urban Search and Rescue Team lifted the elevator off of her — a process that took about an hour and 15 minutes, according to Brandt.

The elevator is estimated to weigh about 2,000 pounds.

“I was about to approach the building when I heard a bunch of screaming and they had us evacuate the building,” said Shantasia McBride, a senior CSULB student.

According to Terri Anderson, scholarship coordinator for the California Student Opportunity and Access Program, the Foundation building was evacuated at 9:23 a.m.  

A CSULB employee said, “I’ve used the elevator before and there haven’t been any problems with it.”

The cause of the fatality is still under investigation, according to Beron.

“This a very sad tragedy for our campus community,” CSULB President F. King Alexander said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family members and friends.” 

Employees and students were evacuated after they heard a scream coming from the third floor elevator, according to a Foundation building employee.

CSULB emergency notifications were sent out to students via emails and phone calls. It resulted in many students taking extra precautions.

“I took the stairs in the library today and so did many others,” sophomore communications major Nohemi Vargas said. “There was no one waiting for the elevators, but everyone crowded the stairs. They were packed and everyone was out of breath, talking about the incident.”

However, around noon, fewer students were spotted taking the stairs.

“Some people are afraid of elevators, but I think that using them is not that big of a deal,” freshman nutrition major Melissa Chow said. “One elevator shouldn’t affect the use of all elevators on campus.”

The Foundation building is approximately 15-20 years old, according to Beron.

The permits for the elevator are current and renewed yearly, according to Erika Monterroza, spokesperson for California Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

The building has three floors and two elevators and is closed for the rest of the day. Police were directing traffic on State University Drive and Palo Verde Avenue, but the area is now clear for traffic.

Krista Brooks, Valerie Graham, Zien Halwani and Stephanie Schoniger contributed to this report.


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