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I-Team: Elevator Inspections Still Lag In Mass.

By WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve
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WBZ-TV's Joe Shortsleeve Joe Shortsleeve
Joe Shortsleeve is chief correspondent for WBZ-TV News weekdays a...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Red Sox President Larry Lucchino was asked about Friday night’s elevator accident and the safety issue it raised.

“We are doing quite a lot to ensure safety at Fenway in every way, shape and form,” Lucchino said.

He was referring to what happened when a woman fell down an elevator shaft after the door to it was somehow smashed open.

“I can’t comment on this other matter because there are safety inspections and investigations going on right now,” Lucchino said.

Elevator safety continues to be an important topic statewide. In 2010, the State Auditor found thousands of elevators were not being inspected in a timely manner. The Commissioner of Public Safety, Thomas Gatzunis, tells the I-Team there has been some improvement. “Overall we are in pretty decent shape, back when I took over we were only about 40 percent compliant,” Gatzunis said. “We have increased that to about 75 percent compliant.”

Senator Richard Moore, a Democrat from Uxbridge, is not happy. “Well, I think they have been trying, but I don’t think they have been trying hard enough,” Moore said.

Moore has pushed for more inspectors and more funding to ensure safer elevators and escalators. He remembers the day a young boy was killed three years ago in an escalator accident at the Auburn mall. The family sued and settled, claiming it was dangerous and defective.

Moore wonders why one in every four elevators is still not getting inspected on schedule. “It should be zero,” Moore says, “or very close to it to make sure the public is confident that this equipment is safe to use.”

However, inspection regulations are getting weaker not stronger. Fines for late inspections have been drastically reduced. There is even a provision being considered on Beacon Hill where in some cases they could be wiped out entirely.

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