RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – In July 2021, emergency crews were called to a home in the Outer Banks after a seven-year-old was involved in a home elevator accident.
Currituck Fire-EMS Chief Ralph Melton said Weston Androw became trapped between an elevator car and the elevator shaft inside a vacation rental home. Emergency workers were able to quickly free the him, but were unable to resuscitate him.
In response, House Bill 619, also known as “Weston’s Law”, made its way through the statehouse. Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill last week.
“This law requires much-needed safety measures for elevators in short-term rentals, and while this action sadly can’t reverse the tragedy that killed Weston Androw, it does mean better protection to prevent future injuries and deaths.”
The law would close the gap where Androw was trapped by installing a space guard on the landing door. The bill’s language also calls for a maximum four inch gap between the hoistway face of the landing door and the hoistway face of the car door.
Under the bill, owners of short-term rentals must have a professional elevator installer certify that the safety measures are in place. Owners must have proof through receipts and photos. Not complying with the law would result in a Class 2 misdemeanor for home owners.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission asked people to stop using Waupaca Residential elevators due to fatal entrapment and serious fall hazards. CPSC said children could become entrapped in residential elevator gaps larger than four inches between the exterior landing (hoistway) door and the interior elevator car door or gate.
The commission said during the summer of 2021, three children were entrapped in other manufacturers’ residential elevators. One of those three was Androw.
At the time, CPSC said three other companies agreed to contact their customers and fix elevators that have a gap as part of a recall.