A local mother is speaking out after her toddler was stuck in an elevator in Metropolis at Metrotown on Wednesday evening.

Sara Elynuik’s three-year-old son Arya, who has autism, slipped out of her grasp during a shopping trip and stepped inside the elevator. When she tried to reach her son the doors began to close.

“It starts closing on my hand and my arms and also Arya’s hand,” Elynuik said.

After that, the elevator doors remained partially closed with Arya trapped inside.

“Arya was freaking out, he was screaming non-stop,” Elynuik said.

Burnaby fire officials and an elevator technician were eventually able to get him out, but Elynuik said it took about 40 minutes – and she wants to know why her son couldn’t have been released sooner.

Metropolis at Metrotown property manager Charles Fleck said the mall is still reviewing the timeline of events with the contractor and security. The elevator where the incident occurred is now back in service.

“What really made me upset more was why, in such a big mall, the security and the staff are not trained [to deal with a stuck elevator],” Elynuik said.

Fleck said all elevator or escalator incidents at the mall are reviewed and only licensed technicians deal with the elevators directly.

“Certainly we’re going to be reviewing this incident with our security contractor and with our elevating contractor as well,” he said.

After the incident, Elynuik said her son stopped responding to intervention behaviour sessions.

“He didn’t even want to be in a room with anybody because he just feels like … if he goes to a closed place and the doors close, he’s gonna get stuck there,” she said. “It has a huge impact on him.”

Fleck would not say if an incident like this had happened before and said the mall would respond to the Elynuik family if they reached out.

“Our biggest concern is the safety and security of our customers and we are very thankful that Burnaby Fire was able to come and assist quickly,” Fleck said.

For now, the family is still recovering from the terrifying experience.

“I definitely don’t feel safe here again,” Elynuik said.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Sarah MacDonald