State Fire Marshal weighs in on who's responsible for horrific elevator death

The investigation continues into what caused the elevator incident that took the life of 18-year-old Jaumarcus McFarland.

Our team spoke with the State Department responsible for elevator safety and inspections with tips you should be aware of. 

McFarland became trapped from a collapsed elevator and was pinned between floors. 

The State Insurance Commissioners’ office reports the building’s elevator was a year past due for an inspection. 

However, the building’s property manager claims the elevator passed similar annual inspections and it was not due for another five-year inspection until 2024. 

So who is responsible? 

"The responsibility for requesting the inspections falls to the owner of the building and the owner of the equipment," Georgia State Fire Marshal Craig Landolt said. 

Landolt said the responsibility is ultimately on the property owner for maintaining service and inspections.  

"Once we’ve issued an initial inspection and certificate for a piece of equipment the responsibility for maintenance, upkeep, inspections and testing shifts to the owner of the property or the owner of the piece of equipment," Landolt said. 

If the equipment doesn’t ‘meet code’ then there could be a price to pay. 

"Any condition that is a violation of our adoptive codes and rules of regulations can carry with it a fine," Landolt said. 

So if you notice something wrong or have a complaint what should you do? 

"I would first bring it to the attention of the responsible party especially if it’s one in which you live or where you work. Especially if you have access to the landlord, maintenance department or responsible party," Landolt said. 

If that doesn’t work then try a local fire department. 

"It’s usually better to start at the local level because they are more intimately knowledgeable on what buildings fall under their jurisdiction than what buildings fall under a higher authority such as the state," Landolt said. 

The family of McFarland have hired attorneys to represent them as they say the building has a history of maintenance and elevator issues.

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