Five taken to hospital after Scottrade Center escalator accident

Friday, October 9, 2009 | 1:13 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — An investigation was underway Friday after an escalator malfunction at the Scottrade Center injured 13 people, sending five to the hospital, following the St. Louis Blues' home opener.

Fire Capt. Bob Keuss said a crowded escalator carrying game spectators broke down around 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

"From what I could tell from looking at it, it looked like the bottom four steps collapsed," he said.

Four adults and a child were taken to hospitals. Keuss described the injuries as not serious, from twisted ankles to back and neck pain.

It appears that rails on the sides of the escalator that support its steps collapsed, causing the bottom steps to buckle, Keuss said. One person's shoe or clothes had to be freed from the mechanism, he said.

Kim Muren, 18, of Belleville, Ill., told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the escalator sped up before the stairs collapsed. "People were falling and piling on top of each other," she said.

Eric Gelfand, a spokesman for the Blues' ownership, SCP Worldwide, said: "The safety of our fans is always our first and foremost concern. We are hopeful they are well and being taken care of, and we have already begun to investigate the cause of the accident."

A concert is scheduled at the Scottrade Center on Friday night, with the Blues' next home game set for Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings. The Atlanta Thrashers beat the Blues 4-2 on Thursday.

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