The Stairwell Trap


An elderly gentleman’s body was found in a stairwell recently after he’d been missing for 5 days. There was only one exit door that opened from inside that 3-storey stairwell and he couldn’t locate it. All the other doors opened into the stairwell and could not or would not open from inside.

I was once working in a high-rise office that spread over several floors and usually took the stairs, which all worked very well until one night when we were pulling an all-nighter. I walked into the stairwell to get coffee from another floor and found myself locked in. Unbeknownst to me, the stairwell magnetic doors locked automatically after 8 pm.

My heart pounding, I realised I could be there all night. My colleagues would not know I was in there when they realised I was missing. I could perhaps walk all the way down, more than 25 floors and hope that the door at the very bottom was unlocked since the stairs were after all, a fire escape. Fortunately I had my handphone with me and called a team mate to let me out.

Whenever we were aware of fire drills, we would arrange to take the lift down a few minutes before. Anyone in office during a drill would be compelled to walk all the way down. It’s good exercise I’m sure, but no fun in office shoes or heels.

The view of high-rise offices from one

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