New Brunswick

Escalator accident in Saint John under investigation

Provincial investigators are looking at an accident at Market Square in Saint John, where a child got his finger caught in an escalator.

Child's finger caught in top of escalator in Market Square

An escalator at Saint John's Market Square is closed off after a weekend accident. (cbc)

An investigation is underway into a weekend accident where a child suffered a hand injury in an escalator at Market Square in Saint John.

Emergency responders were called to Market Square in uptown Saint John Sunday afternoon after a young boy's finger became caught in the top of the shopping centre's escalator.

Shakira Murphy, who works at the women's clothing boutique Envy, said she and fellow employees heard "scary" screams coming from the top of the escalator.

"We heard lots of screaming and the mother was holding her son, and there was blood on the floor," she described. "The janitors were running, the security guards were running. The firemen and police ended up coming."

According to witnesses, a child caught his finger in the top of the escalator. (CBC)
"The first, initial scream sounded like a tantrum, but then it got kinda scary. We heard someone yell '911, ambulance!' and then we knew something was wrong."

According to other Market Square employees, the boy dropped an item near the comb plate at the top of the escalator, and his finger became caught when he attempted to retrieve it, severing the tip.

Murphy said the boy appeared to be eight or nine years old.  "I never thought I'd see something like that happen here."

Often in repair

The pedway escalators, most of which were installed in the 1980s, have needed continual repairs in recent years.

Escalators in the nearby City Market were recently decommissioned for over 12 months with repairs costing an estimated $800,000.

The escalators have remained gated off since the incident.

According to mall employees, they have been told the escalators will remained closed for a lengthy period of time. (CBC)
According to mall employees, those working at nearby establishments were told the escalators will "remain closed for a lengthy period of time."

The lower level of Market Square can still be accessed by elevator.

Heather Peterson, regional property manager for the Hardman Group, which owns and manages Market Square, declined to comment on the incident.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Public Safety said its technical inspection services is conducting an investigation into the incident and cannot comment further at this time.