St Albans family slams Hatfield’s Galleria after babies overheat while stuck in lift

The security guards putting an out of order sign on the lift while Stephen Clarke and his family wer

The security guards putting an out of order sign on the lift while Stephen Clarke and his family were inside. Picture: Supplied. - Credit: Archant

Distraught parents have demanded answers after two babies had to be stripped following fears that they would become seriously ill after being stuck in a lift at a shopping outlet.

The Galleria, Hatfield. Picture: Danny Loo

The Galleria, Hatfield. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

St Albans resident Stephen Clarke, 40, was trapped in a lift at The Galleria in Hatfield for an hour with his 18-month-old daughter and another family who had a baby only a couple months old.

According to the families, Galleria security staff did not have a key on site and said it could be a couple of hours before one could be dropped off.

The Galleria refused to comment on the incident.

Stephen said: “It is just plain incompetent to not have a key on site. If there was a fire during that time we would have died in there.”

The security guards putting an out of order sign on the lift while Stephen Clarke and his family wer

The security guards putting an out of order sign on the lift while Stephen Clarke and his family were inside. Picture: Supplied. - Credit: Archant


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Stephen’s wife Jennifer was stood outside the lift with their other two daughters, aged 10 and 13, who were “hysterically” sobbing.

After the babies began to start screaming and overheating Jennifer eventually called 999.

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Firefighters arrived “quickly” at around 4.30pm on Monday, August 13, and rescued the five people from the lift.

Stephen said: “The other family were even more worried because their baby had diabetes.”

Jennifer explained: “We were knocking on the lift door, but the security told us not to do that as it could drop which we thought was strange because it was on the ground floor. My daughters then started to really panic and I was desperately worried that my husband and baby would drop.”

Jennifer said that however once the fire service arrived it was discovered that there were no floors below and the lift couldn’t have descended.

She added: “They made us go into a state of sheer panic for no reason.”

Stephen said: “The whole situation was handled extremely poorly and very unprofessionally.

“They (the security) didn’t try and calm us down, didn’t reassure us and didn’t even call 999.”

The family, who were shopping for things for their holiday at the time, have said after years of visiting The Galleria they won’t be returning after their ordeal.

Stephen said: “We are really worried that this will happen again to others and want to warn people that The Galleria doesn’t have a lift key on site.

“I can’t see myself going back in a lift for a very long time either.”

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