An individual was stuck in the RSU elevator for 1 hour after doors failed to open Monday

The Fresno Fire Department received an emergency call at 8:49 p.m. after a person was stuck in the Resnick Student Union elevator on Nov. 14. (Wyatt Bible/The Collegian)

A person was stuck on the second floor of the Resnick Student Union (RSU) for around an hour after the elevator doors failed to open Monday evening. Firefighters and an elevator technician safely freed the individual without any injuries or property damage.  

William Duchin, a Fresno Fire Department engineer, said an emergency call was received at 8:49 p.m. The emergency button within the RSU elevator was pressed, he said. 

“It’s a new building and new buildings have problems. And in this case, somebody happened to be stuck in the elevator,” Duchin said. 

The rescue was a collaborative effort with the Fresno State Police Department and Facilities Management. 

The individual did not comment on the incident as they left the RSU. Facilities Management and Student Involvement did not identify the person as well. 

“The individual is a community member conducting business in the building,” a Fresno State spokesperson said. 

Both organizations did release a statement about the incident to The Collegian. 

“We are thankful for the immediate response by Fresno State Police, Fresno Fire Department and our elevator maintenance vendor. Fresno Fire responded within 30 minutes, and the individual was never alone during this time. We are awaiting [for] an assessment from the elevator company as to what actually caused this entrapment to occur.  The elevator was returned to normal operation Tuesday morning,” the statement said. 

The second-floor elevator entrance in the Resnick Student Union. (Wyatt Bible/The Collegian)

A warranty issue is also being addressed by the contractor who built the RSU, as the building has a one-year warranty after its completion, according to Facilities Management. 

Fresno Firefighter Captain Paul Garnier said in situations like these, they prioritize the individual’s safety first to make sure there’s no medical emergencies. 

“We let them know what we’re going to do to calm them down, and then, we try all the simple, non-destructive ways, which includes calling me, a professional, to come out before we would have to do any type of actual destructive extrication,” Garnier said.

Duchin said the person was in “good spirits” the entire time, and they were always able to communicate with the individual. Once they knew the person was safe, they waited around 30 minutes for the elevator technician to come.

“We could tear into those doors like it was an aluminum can… but that would cost a lot of money and do a lot of damage,” Duchin said.

A diagnosis of the problem will be provided to Facilities Management as soon as the problem is found. 

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