Something went down in Pine Hall, and it was not the elevator

It made for a memorable recruitment overnight when a total of 14 students were trapped in the elevator in Pine Hall, which suddenly came to a halt.

The quiet Friday night on Oct. 18 was interrupted by respondents from the Wheaton campus Public Safety, Norton Fire Department, electricians, and Student Residential Life. Though the Fire Department had arrived within a short time, they could not help the situation. The incident was reported at about 9 p.m., and the elevator doors were opened by about 10:15 p.m.

“We didn’t have a key. Typically, we wait if there is no pending emergency.” Fire Capt. Jason Robbins told the Sun Chronicle. “If there had been an emergency, the firefighters would have broken the door open. At the last minute, we did have one male who passed out in the elevator just as the elevator technician arrived,” Robbins added. The technician had to make the journey all the way from Boston. 

Noah Caplan ’23 was not just trapped in the elevator; he was so overcome by the cramped space and heat that had accumulated in the small space, that he passed out before the electricians rescued the students. “It was probably the most unique experience I have had in my entire life,” said Caplan. He was then taken to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro after the incident and has since been cleared to continue with his student life at Wheaton. 

After the assumption was made that students had been jumping in the elevator, multiple of those students stated that they did not jump while in the elevator. The only Junior in the elevator, Sarah Mulder ’21, was the one to report the issue and made sure that the rest of the students stayed calm and were aware that help was on the way. “I remember having my hand on his pulse while banging on the door. He’s okay now. It seemed manageable at the time, but once we got out we realized how drastic it actually was,” said Mulder. 

It got so hot in the elevator that the students began to take off layers of clothing. “Girls were in sports bras and boys were shirtless. We could see the condensation on the walls start to form about 20 minutes into our 90. One of our guys passed out due to dehydration,’’ said Mulder.