Michael Jordan was injured when he fell five stories in a broken San Francisco elevator and now demands improvements in elevator maintenance.
After his accident, Jordan reached out to KTVU Fox 2 News outlet with details of his five-story drop, in hopes that his experience will prompt building owners and state officials to better maintain their elevators.
On Feb. 22, 2016, Jordan was reporting to work in a 33-story skyscraper building owned and managed by Wells Fargo and Jones Lang La Salle America. He was installing card access systems when he was called to another floor by a co-worker.
“Once the door shut, it started taking off like normal,” Jordan told the news outlet. “It was going faster than it should. Then it felt like a bomb went off or something. I knew instantly I was hurt.”
The elevator Jordan entered had fallen an entire five stories before coming to a bone-jarring stop.
“It felt like my whole lower [leg] was busting out of my knee,” Jordan added. “It felt like my spine made like an accordion effect.”
Fox 2’s investigative reporting team, “2 Investigates,” found that more than 11,000 elevators across the state of California had been red-flagged by Cal/OSHA for safety issues during that time. San Francisco was the location of 756 of them.
Jordan was stuck in the broken elevator for 45 minutes before help arrived, and emergency crews finally rescued him and took him to San Francisco General. There at the hospital, he received treatment for a bulging disc in his back and a fractured femur. According to Jordan, surgery wasn’t an option, leaving him in constant pain.
“My youngest child is almost 3 years old,” Jordan said, “and I basically missed out on a year of her life.” Jordan, who is undergoing physical therapy and has been unable to return to work, said it’s a struggle just to play with his own kids.
2 Investigates discovered that nearly two years prior to Jordan’s accident, the state ordered the elevator to be shut down, but the order was ignored. The following year, management requested new inspections of the elevator, but there are no records that the inspection was ever completed.
Michael Fagan, a national elevator consultant not connected to Jordan’s case, told 2 Investigates, “the owner of the building is responsible, and has as a non-delegable duty for the safety of their elevators.”
Because of Wells Fargo and Jones Lang La Salle America’s neglect of proper elevator maintenance, Jordan now lives with long-lasting physical injuries as well as post-traumatic stress.
“I have a really bad anxiety and panic attacks,” Jordan told KTSU. “Because of the accident my flight or fight senses are enhanced. I don’t sleep [but] a few hours each night.”