Hearn replacing elevator cables after mishap at 875 North Michigan Avenue

Six people were stuck inside an elevator for more than 2 hours Friday at the former John Hancock Center

875 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago
875 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago

After rescue crews had to cut through a wall to rescue six visitors stuck in an elevator at the former John Hancock Center on Friday, the building’s commercial property manager was issued building permits Wednesday to repair the elevator.

Hearn, which manages the commercial portion of the 100-story tower at 875 North Michigan Avenue, applied to replace the hoist cables on elevator No. 2, according to city building permit records.

Early Friday, six people were descending from the Signature Room bar on the 95th floor when one of the elevator cables broke, CBS Chicago reported. Other cables held tight and and kept the elevator from slipping into freefall, but it jammed to a halt somewhere near the 11th floor.

The elevator was designed to carry up to 4,000 pounds and reach a maximum speed of 1,800 feet per minute, according to permit records.

It took more than two hours for emergency responders to locate and free the passengers, according to the Chicago Tribune. Firefighters had to cut a 5-foot-by-5-foot hole in a brick wall and pry the elevator doors open, the fire department said. None of the passengers was hurt.

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The city buildings department is still investigating the incident, a spokesperson said.

Otis, the company that manufactured and maintains the elevator, is “actively supporting an investigation of the incident,” which it calls a “rare and isolated occurrence,” spokesperson Sarah Christy said in a statement.

“High-rise elevators are equipped with multiple safety systems that are designed to protect passengers,” Christy said. “The safety system at 875 N. Michigan Avenue operated as designed to safely stop the elevator.”

A spokesperson for Hearn did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Earlier this year, Sterling Bay paid at least $300 million to acquire 900,000 square feet of office space inside the tower, the city’s fourth-tallest.