Woman searching for elevator falls from 7th floor at Canal Lofts

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RICHMOND, Va. – A woman was found injured, with her body contorted, after falling  from the seventh floor of the Canal Lofts, a Shockoe Bottom apartment complex.

A witness told responding firefighters that the woman fell five flights down an electrical shaft when she was trying to find an elevator.

The incident occurred around 2 a.m. Thursday.

The woman and her friends don’t live there, according to sources, but somehow got into the building.

Canal Lofts

Canal Lofts

Surveillance video reportedly shows two women checking various doors inside the building, but it could not be confirmed it was the victim and her friend.

The victim's friend told investigators she was looking for the elevator when she climbed over the metal railing in the electrical shaft closet on the 7th floor, and started playing around before she fell.

When rescue crews found her, her body had been contorted into a V shape, with her legs against her chest.

The accident left her paralyzed from her abdomen down, said a police source.

The property manager declined to comment about what happened but did show a reporter the electrical shaft.

Electrical Shafts at Canal Lofts

Electrical Shafts at Canal Lofts

It has two doors that are supposed to be locked and a metal railing blocking access to the shaft, which is waist high.

Investigators found multiple electrical shaft doors unlocked but the railings intended to obstruct access to the shaft were all in place.


When rescue crews found her, her body had been contorted into a V shape, with her legs against her chest.

Brian White, President of Main Street Realty which manages the Canal Lofts released a statement:

"All of our thoughts are with the young woman who was injured.  We’re sure that this woman and her family have had an extremely difficult day, and we believe that the most respectful thing that we can do at this time is to allow them to deal with this incident without making things more difficult by speaking publicly about it."

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