Faulty sensor to blame for elevator stopping at Washington Monument

The elevator in the Washington Monument stopped working Wednesday afternoon, requiring the National Park Service to lead 40 visitors down the stairs.

The Park Service said the elevator stopped responding, at approximately 3:30 p.m., while approximately 500-feet up, in the 555-foot-high obelisk.

National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst told WTOP Thursday morning that a faulty sensor was to blame for the elevator issues. It was fixed shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday and the monument reopened at around 10:30 a.m.

In a tweet, the Park Service said nobody was in the elevator when it stopped, and more than three dozen visitors already at the top of the monument were brought down the stairs, without incident.

Less than a week ago, on Nov. 16, the monument was closed for three hours after the system that allows park rangers to access the elevator controls lost power.

The Washington Monument reopened on Sept. 19 for visitors after being closed for three years of repairs and renovations, including work on the elevator system. Two days later, it stopped working for about an hour.

Litterst said the incidents are unrelated and added that NPS is in contact with the service contractor and the design center that saw the modernization of the elevator.

“We hope it’s just a matter of the first couple of months — getting things sorted out,” Litterst said.

WTOP’s Kristi King and Jennifer Ortiz contributed to this report. 

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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