Roxbury man looking for answers after stuck on an MBTA elevator for nearly an hour

ROXBURY, Mass. — A Roxbury man wants answers and accountability after getting stuck on an elevator at the Roxbury Crossing T-stop for 40 minutes. And it took a call to 911 to get him out.

Luckily, James Puopolo wasn’t injured, but he lost several hours of a busy day and is questioning why the elevators were not addressed with all the recent work done on the orange line. 

Puopolo shared his message with MBTA officials and the firefighters who saved him. “I appreciated what they did. They calmed me down, it was really claustrophobic and I just don’t want to see anyone else go through that, it was very harrowing,” Puopolo told Boston 25 News.

A big thank you to Boston Firefighters after Puopolo was stuck around 6:30 Tuesday morning and Puopolo says there was no staff in sight until first responders arrived.

“They kept assuring me they were going to get me outta’ there,” Poupolo added.

The 61-year-old has a bum knee and hopped on, hoping to run some errands, making his way to the first floor before the elevator malfunctioned.

“Next I pressed the button nothing happened, there was a gentleman in a wheelchair waiting to go upstairs. I asked him did you hit the button, he goes yes, nothing happened,” Puopolo said.

A call to 911 ended with Boston Fire dispatched to free the Roxbury grandfather as crews worked to cut the power and pry the door open.

“They ended up taking a hydraulic wedge and putting it in the door and I was able to eventually make a space two feet wide to get me outta there.”

The ‘T’ maintenance crews were also alerted and a spokesperson told Boston 25 “During the process of removing the individual, the damage was caused to the elevator doors. Maintenance crews will be at Roxbury Crossing this week to make repairs and return the elevator to service as safely and quickly as possible.”

Puopolo says he wants an apology and signs posted of the last inspection.

“Maybe get on some elevators and bring the inspector with you. They look like they could use some service a lot of them. It’s very frustrating,” Puopolo said.

Boston 25 did some digging and learned the ‘T’ has 189 elevators and 14 of those are currently out of service.

James Puopolo: “What about accountability? You got an outgoing GM, you got a new one coming in. I think you need to be hands-on.”

Riders with the ‘T’ told Boston 25 about the situation.

Christian Ernst told Boston 25 News, “I can’t imagine being in that closed space for that long. I’ve never been on one and I probably won’t go on one now.”

Boston 25 requested the 911 call, video from the MBTA and elevator inspection reports. And also reached out to the Board of Elevator Regulations and have not yet heard back.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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