Internal emails reveal how Donald Trump got stuck in Colo. Springs elevator, capacity limit at venue

Memo detailed capacity limit in advance of rally
Posted at 9:40 PM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-10 00:38:35-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Internal emails obtained by Denver7 reveal how Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump got stuck in an elevator during his visit to Colorado Springs.

The emails also show the fire department spelled out the capacity limits in a memo, days before Trump took a jab at the fire department for keeping some supporters out of his campaign event at the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs (UCCS.)

When Trump was in Colorado Springs on July 29, he arrived an hour late to his rally on the UCCS campus.

The next day, the Colorado Springs Fire Department revealed that they had rescued Trump and nine others from an elevator in a downtown Colorado Springs hotel.

In a statement, the fire department said:

"The Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) confirms that it responded to a call for service Friday, July 29 to perform an elevator rescue for approximately ten people trapped inside an elevator, including Presidential Nominee Donald Trump. A fire truck arrived at The Mining Exchange--A Wyndham Hotel & Spa, 8 South Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colo and found the elevator stuck between the first and second floors.  The firefighters were able to secure the elevator, open the top elevator hatch, lower a ladder into the elevator which allowed all individuals to self evacuate, including Mr. Trump, onto the second floor lobby area.  No injuries were reported."

Denver7 requested emails between the Colorado Springs Fire Department, UCCS and the Trump campaign. We received 214 pages of email, including one from Colorado Springs Fire Marshal Brett Lacey responding to a friend who had reached out to him after Trump's visit. This quote, taken directly from that email, detailed what really happened inside the elevator.

"Thanks for the support… it was funny. You have likely heard more about the elevator fiasco. Turns out someone (Secret Service or his entourage) had an elevator bypass key.. they (one of them) turned it off between floors and didn’t know how to get it back on.. our folks went and fished them out… elevator guys get there and say what the crap? Who turned this off? Turned it back on and voila."

A Trump campaign spokesperson had no comment on this new detail.

When Trump arrived at the rally, he criticized the Fire Marshal for limiting the number of people inside the rally.

"We have thousands of beautiful, wonderful, great people outside, and we have in the room next door over 1,000 people. They won't let them in. And the reason they won't let them in is because they don't know what the hell they're doing," said Trump at the rally.

The emails we reviewed tell a different story.

An email between the Deputy Fire Marshal and UCCS detailed the capacity limits at Gallogy Hall, where Trump would speak on campus.

  1. The occupant load in the Events Center will be limited to a maximum of 1,500 event spectators. There will be 450 spectators for the west bleachers, 750 spectators for the east bleachers, and 300 spectators standing on the Events Center floor.
  2. There will be overflow, standing room only, allowed for a maximum of 1,000 spectators in Berger Hall.

A UCCS spokesman confirmed that the memo was communicated in person at a meeting with the Trump campaign a day before the event.

The email between Lacey and his friend also reveal other pressure from Trump staff:

"We had worked with UCCS of which we have a great relationship with and their security.. (University Cops)…. And our PD… and worked out the event loading on Thursday. All was well.. until they wanted more people… Secret Service were butts too… wanted me to let more people in because he (Trump) was threatening to leave the room.. and they hadn’t secured the other location. I communicated to them that my problem was the public.. theirs was their candidate… their detail is their problem.. not mine. So… we held to the limit (I did grant permission to go 10% over based on administrative controls and moving some barriers), but they did not exercise that … he just launched on his speech and that was that.

"PD, Fire and Campus Police as well as campus administration held to agreement. Word is they dispersed 10K on-line tickets for a 2500 load event. Again, not my problem."

In response, Secret Service Special Agent In Charge Kerry O'Grady told Denver7:

"The Secret Service works very closely with our partners in the Fire Department to ensure the safety of our protectees and the general public. We fully support and value the public safety mission of the Fire Marshal."

On July 26, two days before the memo regarding capacity, the campaign signed a contract with UCCS. One provision of the contract said:

X. COMPLIANCE WITH RULES AND LAWS: LICENSEE shall use and occupy said premises in a safe and careful manner and shall comply with all applicable University, Municipal, State and Federal laws and all rules and regulations pertaining to University Facilities, and all other rules and regulations prescribed by the Fire and Police Departments and other governmental authorities, as may be in force and effect during the terms of this Agreement.

A Trump spokesperson said they had no comment on this aspect either, saying the campaign is not interested in keeping this story alive.