Two adults and two children from two families suffered minor injuries after the ground floor escalator collapsed at the Bellevue Square Macy's, Bellevue Square and Bellevue Fire Department officials said Thursday.
The up-wards escalator, which connects the ground floor outdoor Bellevue Way entrance of Macy's to the main floor of the store, failed around 7:21 p.m. Thursday night and showed obvious damage at its top.
Update 10:21 p.m.
Kemper Development Company, which owns Bellevue Square, released a statement which read in part:
"The management at Kemper Development Company puts the safety and security of its customers first and foremost and will continue to monitor the four guests involved."
The full statement is at the bottom of this story.
The four injured were taken to a local hospital to be checked out for their minor injuries, said Bellevue Fire Department spokesman Lt. Troy Donlin. One man suffered injuries and the rest were taken to Overlake Hospital as a precaution, he said. Kirkland Fire Department also responded along with Bellevue Fire.
Donlin said that it was not immediately known what caused the escalator to break down and how many people were on it.
Bellevue Collection general manager and Kemper Development Senior Vice President Robert Dallain said that the escalator was one of the original ones in the Bellevue Square Macy's, which would have been built in 1982.
"These escalators are monitored daily, weekly, monthly. They're inspected, we have a maintenance program. We do due diligence," Dallain said. "It's a freak accident."
Dallain said that an inspector is now scheduled to look at the escalator to determine what happened, and to inspect the other escalators in the mall, including the damaged escalator's downward mate.
Obviously, the holiday period is a busy and festive time for the mall and its shoppers. The accident happened around the end of the nightly Snowflake Lane show, a short parade of holiday characters on Bellevue Way.
"It's terrible time. Anytime is bad. Tonight is a joyful night. We had Snowflake Lane. I'm sure they were here for that with their kids," Dallain said. "Our prayers go to them, and I'm sure we'll be in touch with them."
Twitter user Daniel Kao shared a photo of the malfunction right after it occurred.
Kemper Development Company Statement:
At around 7:20 p.m. tonight, Bellevue Square security responded to a mechanical failure at the up escalator in the Bellevue Square common area within Macy’s Department store. The escalator malfunction led to one minor injury of a 30 year old man. One other adult and two children were also involved and taken to the hospital as a precaution. The management at Kemper Development Company puts the safety and security of its customers first and foremost and will continue to monitor the four guests involved.
Bellevue Square security and the Bellevue Fire Department quickly responded to the situation and secured the area.
All escalators throughout Bellevue Square are frequently inspected by the escalator contractor and monthly by the state (Department of Labor and Industries). Kemper Development Company, owners of Bellevue Square, will continue to work closely with the state to determine the cause of the mechanical failure.