Elevator door repaired, Washington Monument back open

WASHINGTON — The Washington Monument is back open to the public after an elevator problem led to a major inconvenience for dozens of visitors Tuesday night.

Sixty-three people — two of whom were pregnant — were stranded at the top of the monument when the elevator stopped working, according to the National Park Service. They had to use the stairs, walking 500 feet down to the bottom.

The two pregnant women needed assistance from firefighters, who used a special chair to carry them down each step.

“The electric eyes that tell the elevator that there’s no one in the way of the doors had gotten out of alignment,” said National Park Service Spokesperson Mike Litterst.

“The doors wouldn’t close and the elevator wouldn’t operate.”

Technicians quickly repaired the problem and the monument opened on time Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. Park police said no one was trapped in the elevator.

The issue was unrelated to previous elevator problems that led to the monument being shut down for several days this summer.

“This was a very simple mechanical fix,” Litterst said.

American flags around the Washington Monument flew at half-staff in honor of three firefighters who were killed battling wildfires in Washington state last week. U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell ordered the flags flown at half-staff through sunset Wednesday.

WTOP’s Dana Gooley and Nick Iannelli contributed to this report.

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