The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued an urgent warning to stop using Waupaca home elevators due to deadly entrapment and serious fall hazards.
CPSC asked Waupaca to join a recall announced yesterday by three other elevator manufacturers, but the company refused, claiming that it “does not have the financial resources required to satisfy a recall to address elevator gaps.”
Waupaca elevators have a gap between the elevator’s inner accordion-style door and the exterior door (which typically looks like another door in the house). The gap is just wide enough for a young child to become trapped. If the elevator moves to another floor, the child can be seriously injured or fatally crushed.
According to safety officials, a 4-year-old child was seriously injured by a Waupaca elevator in 2011:
“The child became trapped between the hoistway door and the Waupaca model 014 elevator car door. The child was found dangling in the elevator shaft, upside down, with his foot lodged between the elevator car and the elevator shaft on the third floor. The child suffered physical scarring and permanent vision loss as a result of the incident.”
These Waupaca elevators were manufactured and distributed beginning in 1979 through to the present and sold for between $18,000 and $30,000. Models include the 008, 010, 014, 015, 016, 018, 021, 022, 110, 114, 115, 116, 118, and 210 models.
Waupaca previously recalled about 8,000 home elevators in October 2018 and issued another warning in July 2021 after a person died when the elevator unexpectedly fell to the bottom of the shaft.
Homeowners with Waupaca elevators should lock the elevator, or lock all exterior landing (hoistway) doors to the elevator, to prevent children from accessing the elevator until it can be inspected by an elevator service company or a qualified inspector to ensure that the space between the doors complies with federal requirements.