13 hurt when Scottrade escalator malfunctions
ST. LOUIS -- Thirteen people were hurt when a crowded escalator malfunctioned just after a Blues game at Scottrade Center ended Thursday night.
Witnesses said the down escalator near the Clark Street entrance of the arena suddenly sped up and then several of the front steps collapsed into one another, throwing riders forward.
"I fell down and people fell on top of me," said Tim Peterson, 22, of Collinsville, who had been in the middle of the stairway.
After the speed up, the moving stairway came to a sudden halt, witnesses said. Some riders' clothing got trapped in the steps.
Peterson said one of his friends was among those trapped. The friend's clothing and shoe had to be cut from the buckled stairs and he suffered a foot injury, Peterson said.
Capt. Bob Keuss, a spokesman for the St. Louis Fire Department, said five of the 13 people injured were taken to hospitals, the others refused treatment. None of the injuries were serious, Keuss said. He said the side rails of the escalator appeared to collapse at the bottom and four steps buckled. The cause was unknown.
Kim Muren, 18, of Belleville, was on the escalator when it malfunctioned and said at least four people landed on her in the chaos. "People were falling and piling on top of each other," she said.
Lee Boudouris, 21, of Belleville said the escalator apparently stopped when someone at the top hit an emergency button.
"I think it would have been a bigger pile if the guy hadn't hit the emergency button," Boudouris said.
Witnesses said that arena officials had to stop the up escalator so people could use that stairway to leave.
Blue owners Dave Checketts, Mike McCarthy and Ken Munoz and Club President John Davidson went to the hospital where those hurt on the escalator were taken to check on them, the club said.
Eric Gelfand, executive vice president of communications for Blues owner SCP Worldwide, said in a email: "The safety of our fans is always our first and foremost concern. We are hopeful that they are well and being taken care of and have already begun to investigate the cause of the accident."
Muren said she has no plans to ride an escalator again. "I’m taking the stairs every time after this," she said.
Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.