Office workers didn’t know what to think Thursday morning when a loud boom shook the Gateway Plaza in downtown Macon.
“I heard a bomb go off and the lights flickered,” one woman on the first floor of the six-story building said of the crash that preceded the fire alarm.
Jackie Mitchell was working at her desk on the sixth floor when she heard it.
“I thought something blew up, I really did, because it shook the building,” Mitchell said.
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When the fire alarm sounded, some wondered if it was a test.
“Everybody thought, ‘Is this real?’ Then, ‘No, this is real,’ ” Mitchell said.
Everyone evacuated the building before word began to spread about a malfunction in the elevator.
Crews from Thyssenkrupp were doing regular maintenance on elevator No. 2 when the braking mechanism malfunctioned, sending part of the elevator crashing down the shaft.
One man working on the sixth floor thought a car had crashed into the building.
In September, a Macon Transit Authority bus hit the neighboring Peyton Anderson Building across the street.
Thursday at about 10 a.m., as the weight fell, it ripped a wire out of the fire alarm system, which is a safety mechanism.
“All the safety devices worked as it should,” one of the workers said as they worked on the elevator.
Employees went back to work about 15 minutes later.
“Everybody had to go out down the stairs,” Mitchell said of the evacuation. “From the sixth floor and then back up. We got our exercise.”
Building manager Randy White said he got a scare, thinking one of the maintenance workers might have been injured.
“The good news is that everything worked the way it was supposed to work,” White said.