Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "elevators" ...

  • Better Government Association and WBEZ: TRAPPED

    In Chicago’s public housing for senior residents, something as simple as taking an elevator can be dangerous. The Better Government Association and WBEZ 91.5FM investigated how the Chicago Public Housing Authority failed to maintain safe operating conditions in dozens of elevators.
  • Deadly failure on the runway

    Less than a week after multimillionaire businessman Lewis Katz consolidated his ownership of The Philadelphia Inquirer in a high-stakes auction, he and six others were killed in a fiery takeoff crash of his Gulfstream G-IV. One month before the National Transportation Safety Board publicly issued its findings, The Inquirer put the readers inside the cockpit for the takeoff roll’s crucial last seconds as the pilots boosted the plane’s speed far above its reputed design limit – and then lost precious moments trying to electronically free the elevator, rather than simply aborting the takeoff. Early reports focused on a lack of required safety checks by the pilots. But that did not account for a central mystery – the plane’s fail-safe system did not prevent the jet from reaching takeoff speed despite their error. The newspaper found that a flaw in the jet’s “gust lock” system - meant to keep the plane’s elevators locked when a jet is parked - allowed the pilots to reach takeoff speed but unable to get lift, a deadly combination.
  • People trapped in elevators, University violates state law

    I didn't set out to write about how the university violated state law but that's what I found when I requested 10 years worth of reports of people trapped in elevators. I spent four months and many weekends on my couch inputting the reports into an Excel spreadsheet. I dug up archived university budget reports and asked questions that got me hung up on or rerouted. But I got answers. In 10 years, about 800 reports were made of people trapped in elevators. The average wait time was 30 minutes because the university did not have anyone on campus trained to open a stuck elevator. Furthermore, the university violates state laws on publicly posting certificates of compliance. My story sparked conversation and the Student Congress president approached me with interest in creating a resolution to fix some of the problems my story brought to light.The story was posted on the Investigative Reporters and Editors and Student Press Law Center websites. More importantly, it showed the public a problem and solutions.
  • Access Denied

    When reviewing how well the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) was fulfilling the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it failed to fulfill in many cases. Many stations are designated as fully accessible, but in reality lack many of the general necessities. These include, “broken doors, turnstiles and elevators, and lacking automatic doors, which make it fully accessible”. Furthermore, the CTA declined to discuss these problems, but one employee did answer some questions, which lacked any substantial feedback.
  • Trapped in Despair

    The Wilmington Housing Authority high-rises are flooded with drugs, prostitutes, and criminals. Among some of the residents are the elderly and handicapped who are at times afraid to leave their apartments. The elevators frequently break down, stranding residents that rely on them. The worst part is that the executive director, the mayor and the lawmakers know about the existence of the problems within the high-rises.
  • Fatal Elevator Flaws

    This story looked at the effect of privatized inspections on elevator safety in Florida. The author found that one in five elevators was operating without a current operating certificate, and that many had not been inspected in years. The investigation showed how at least one fatal accident could have been prevented if the regulations were followed more closely.
  • Catching elevators

    People trust elevators to be safe. But there isn't a federal elevator safety law. In Texas, elevator safety laws are lax. And many elevators aren't regularly inspected or repaired, so people are getting hurt or killed.
  • Maryland behind in elevator inspections

    "Nearly a quarter of the elevators in Maryland are chronically under-inspected, and in some counties that number nears 50 percent," reporter Allen Powell of the Capital News Service found. He analyzed records from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which revealed an overworked, underfunded inspection force that failed to inspect thousands of elevators each year.
  • 102 Minutes: Critical Moments, Critical Decisions

    The 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center were a cataclysmic disaster. Despite the brutality of the strike, the death toll stayed around 3,000 instead of the 6,000 plus many officials estimated that day. How did so many people survive? Did the survivors all do the same thing? Cauchon analyzed these questions and more using data on survivors and the deceased, complete floor plans of both towers, and about 300 interviews. The results were intriguing. Everyone working above the 92nd floor in Tower 1 died. "In Tower 2, about 15 people survived using the only staircase that remained passable." Those were the only survivors about the crash in Tower 2.
  • Missouri program to check elevators fails to deliver. Few units are inspected, and some flaws go unrepaired.

    In 2000, more than 9,000 people were injured on the nation's approximate 700,000 elevators. In Missouri, some elevators show signs of neglect and are flunking safety tests. A Post-Dispatch sampling of nearly 260 inspections conducted from May 2000 to March found an average of four violations per elevator.