New York, NY Elevator Accident, Jan 1911


Axes Used to Get Crippled Doctor Trapped Alone in Car at Yorkville Casino.


Crowd In Moving Picture Show In Same Building Not Disturbed by the Mishap.

Dr. Hasias Schiemann of 312 East 119th Street entered the Yorkville Casino, 310 East Eighty-sixth Street, at 9:30 o'clock last night to attend a meeting of the Kurlander Young Men's Benefit Association, nodded to the elevator man, Peter Vervini, who stood aside for him. The doctor is crippled in the right leg, and he stumbled as he entered the car, his body striking the operating wheel of the elevator and setting the mechanism in operation.

The car started upward as Vervini leaped forward, too late, and an instant afterward a cry rang out through the building. Special Policeman Briggi and Vervini both sprang to the stairs and ran up to the second floor whence the cry had come. It had not been repeated. They opened the door into the shaft and found the car had stopped about a foot below the floor. Dr. Schiemann lay senseless, his left leg crushed between the floor of the car and the bottom of the sill of the shaft door on the second floor.

Briggi and Vervini jumped down into the car and tried to lift Dr. Schiemann out. They found this impossible, and Vervini tried to lower the car a trifle. He found that the mechanism was broken and that the elevator could not be moved.

"We can cut him out. That's the only way," exclaimed Briggi, and he sent Vervini running to the quarters of Fire Truck 43 around the corner.

Capt. Doughtery and the crew responded, running to the Casino with axes and crowbars in their hands. There is a mezzanine floor in the Casino, the ceiling of which was about on a level with the floor of the elevator. Manager Michael Norton's office is there.

Into this the firemen, led by Briggi, hurried and began to chop a hole in the wall. It took more than fifteen minutes to make this hole big enough to pass a man's body through, but when it was done the opening was found to give out into the shaft at a point just below where the physician was trapped. A few more blows with the axes made a hole in the flooring of the elevator, through which the mangled leg of Dr. Schiemann could be pressed back into the elevator, and then he was lifted out of the car through the shaft door on the second floor.

Dr. McBurnie had been summoned from the Presbyterian Hospital and he hurried Dr. Schiemann there. He was still senseless, but at the hospital it was said that he would not die, although he was in bad shape from shock.

Policeman Cahill of the East Eighty-eighth Street Station arrested Vervini, charging him with criminal negligence.

Although there is a moving picture show on the ground floor of the Casino there was no scare there as Dr. Schieman evidently become unconscious after his first cry of a pain and the audience viewing the pictures did not know that an accident had happened. Dr. Schiemann's friends in the meeting room on the third floor also were unaware of the accident.

The New York Times, New York, NY 19 Jan 1911