A man died after apparently suffering some sort of medical emergency and falling on an escalator at the Powell Street Station this afternoon, fire and police officials said.

At about 1 PM, emergency crews responded to a report that someone had fallen on an escalator at the station and passed out, San Francisco fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

According to Talmadge, firefighters responded and found a man at the bottom of the escalator whose coat sleeve and hair had gotten stuck in the escalator, Talmadge said.

Appeal reader Sally Kuchar, who passed by the scene around 3 PM, said that “there was a bunch of debris (looked like someone’s clothes) shoved in the bottom portion of the escalator, like it had been sucked in or something.”

Station agents were able to turn off the escalator, and emergency crews extricated the man and took him to San Francisco General Hospital, Talmadge said.

The escalator was on the northwest end of the station near Hallidie Plaza, police Sgt. Mike Andraychak said.

The man, believed to be in his 50s, died at the hospital at about 1:50 p.m., Andraychak said.

At 3 PM, Kuchar says, the area was still blocked off with police tape, with police officers standing guard at street level and others below. Tenderblog estimates that “a dozen policemen, a couple of people in Muni uniforms and a few others in plainclothes” all participated in the investigation. Officials cleared the area by about 3:20 p.m., Andraychak said.

“Even if it’s likely a medical situation, we have to treat it like a crime scene … and make 100 percent sure it was or was not a crime,” he said.

Photos: Sally Kuchar

Dan McMenamin of Bay City News contributed to this report

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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