A man suspected of trespassing and burglary has been rescued from a grease vent above an abandoned Chinese restaurant, after being trapped in there for two days.
The 29-year-old was discovered yesterday (December 12), when the emergency services were called to the empty building after a passerby heard someone crying for help.
Police and firefighters attended the scene just after 9am and upon hearing the cries, realised they were coming from a roof vent on top of the restaurant.
Initially, the cries for help were reported as a possible lockout, however responders soon discovered the man trapped inside the vent.
Alameda County Fire Department said on Facebook:
The response was upgraded to a rescue with Engine 24, Rescue 24, Truck 12 and Battalion 2.
An adult male was extricated from the vent system within 30 minutes of firefighters arriving at the scene.
The man stated he had been stuck in the duct system for 2 days. [sic]
Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, who also attended the scene, described how an extendable ladder was used to enable the responders to locate the suspected trespasser in the grease duct.
The 29-year-old was trapped in such a way, he could not move, despite the fact he was covered in grease and oil.
Firefighters immediately began their rescue operation, and the man was removed from the vent within the hour. He was suffering from exhaustion and dehydration and transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Sergeant Ray Kelly from the Sheriff’s Office went on to say:
At this time, we are conducting a trespassing and vandalism investigation. It’s unknown if the suspect intended to commit a burglary. The case will be submitted to the district attorney.
We are very thankful to our citizen reporter and our firefighters for saving this man. It’s likely he wound not have survived another day given the circumstances. The suspect is expected to make a full recovery.
Sgt. Kelly told the San Francisco Chronicle the unidentified man is in a generally good condition, despite being exposed to the elements.
He stated deputies will decide at a later date whether to book the man, or issue a citation for his actions.
Now, the feeling of getting trapped somewhere is absolutely terrifying to me at the best of times, so just the thought of this is giving me the heebie jeebies.
I can’t really relate that much because I’ve never climbed into a grease vent (who’d have thought) but the closest I can compare it to is when I got my head stuck in between the bannisters on our staircase when I was about seven. I know, I know – I have a huge head.
I was only stuck there for about a minute because I screamed the entire house down and one of my parents (I can’t remember which one) came to the rescue with a bit of butter.
But it seems like even butter couldn’t have saved this man. Despite him being covered in grease from the duct, he was stuck in a position where he couldn’t move at all.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).