There are some situations that really force you to reevaluate what it is you’re doing with your life. Often, these moments are so unexceptional in their tragedy that it can be difficult for anyone else to appreciate their significance. There can be no telling what might cause one person to question their purpose and another to carry on as if nothing had happened. One thing we can all agree on, however, is that if we got stuck in a grotty grease vent for two days, we would all take some time to consider whether we were on the right path.
This was exactly the fate that befell an unfortunate man in San Lorenzo, California last week, when emergency services were forced to cut hime free from a network of old oil pipes above an abandoned Chinese restaurant. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, “Just before 9:30 a.m., Alameda County fire officials responded to a 911 call from someone who reported hearing faint cries for help coming from a building on the 700 block of Bockman Road.” It was there that they found an as yet unnamed and incredibly slippery individual, wedged deep in the system.
The person who initially suspected that there may be something suspicious going on reported hearing a series of cries, begging for help, from within the building well before rescuers arrived en masse. However, since the building was locked, he had no way of gaining entry and investigating the situation still further. The site itself sits on a small retail park, devoid of much activity, which explains how the unfortunate victim could have gone undetected for so long.
Eventually, rescuers were made aware that there might be something more going on at 700 Bockman Road than meets the eye. When they arrived at the site, officials reported that it sounded as though the victim was “in pain” and was “moaning”, though he was able to tell them that he was stuck in the ducts above the restaurant. The quickly moved to get him out of his literally sticky situation.
The extraction process took around 30 minutes of hacking from experienced firefighters. According to Alameda County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly, “The system’s passageway runs all the way through to the building, but significantly narrows on the way down,” which explains how the victim found himself in such a tight spot. The smooth metal walls, coupled with the grease meant that the man was unable to get out on his own. Thankfully, despite spending two days in a freezing greasy tube, the man was believed to be in good condition, before he was sent to the hospital for a full assessment.
While everyone is obviously thankful that all involved in this strange case are fine, questions remain over how someone could end up stuck in a grease vent. Sgt. Kelly, who incredibly said, “It’s not the first time I have seen this,” believes that he has the answer. According to him, the most likely solution is that this is an incredibly embarrassing botched burglary. Though no charges have been brought against the rescued man, it is certainly an unfortunate way to be discovered by law enforcement.