Woman Burned Alive in Elevator Makes Us Run for the Stairs


Editor's Note: Jerome Isaac, 47, has been arrested on murder and arson charges. According to reports, he told police he did it because the woman owed him money for work he had done for her.

We all have heard the recommendations that we do simple things like take the stairs instead of an elevator to kick up our cardio and improve our health. Yet still we opt to push the button so we can be carried to our destination instead. In New York, two recent incidents are horrific enough to perhaps just scare us into taking those stairs.

In the most recent, a 73-year-old woman, Deloris Gillespie,  was burned alive in an elevator after she came back from grocery shopping yesterday afternoon. According to the Associated Press, as she was exiting the elevator to her fifth-floor apartment a man dressed as an exterminator sprayed her with some sort of liquid, set her on fire, then ran.


Neighbors say she'd lived in the building for decades and was always giving out toys and such to children. She certainly doesn't seem like anyone that would have any enemies though a suspect that turned himself in did apparently know her though, so there are plenty of questions. But no motive will make it any less tragic or an elevator less eerie.

Also in New York, last Wednesday, Suzanne Hart, 41, was on her way to her job at Young and Rubicam when she went to step into an elevator in the Madison Avenue building. Before she could get in completely, however, the elevator reportedly shot up 20 feet, and she was crushed to death between the wall and the elevator.

Absolutely horrifying and such an awful senseless way to die. According the New York Post, the elevator bank she died in was the subject of multiple violations in the past, but it's not quite clear exactly what happened.

Elevators have always freaked me out to some extent. Being trapped with strangers in that little box is always a little uncomfortable, and each jerk and jolt makes my stomach sink. l always breathe a little sigh of relief upon exiting one. Of course, most rides are just fine. According to ConsumerWatch.com, only 27 people are killed each year in the 18 billion passenger trips that our nation's 900,000 elevators make each year.

Still, these incidents certainly aren't going to make me feel any safer in an elevator. Instead, they will provide some good motivation for me to seek the stairs when I'm feeling lazy.

Will these incidents make you more likely to take the stairs instead of elevators?

Image via robinsonsmay/Flickr

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