Rescuers free man who got trapped in pizza oven vent in Georgia

ByREBEKKA SCHRAMM, CNNWire
Thursday, July 14, 2022
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Workers at a shopping center in DeKalb County, Ga. showed up to a bizarre scene Tuesday morning.

LITHONIA, G.A. -- Workers at a shopping center in DeKalb County showed up to a bizarre scene Tuesday morning. A man was stuck in an oven vent and was screaming for help.

"I definitely did not expect this," said Staff Sgt. Brittany Davis, a recruiter for the U.S. Army.

She told CBS46 she and a co-worker heard the screams as they opened the recruiting office for the day. The office is located in a shopping center on Covington Highway near DeKalb Medical Parkway.

"We actually stepped back to see if maybe someone was on top of the roof," Davis said.

Next door, a worker at the Little Caesar's Pizza was hearing the same screams coming from an oven vent. Davis went inside the restaurant and could hear the man's voice more clearly.

"He was actually saying that he can't breathe, that he's having a panic attack," she said, "and of course, I was just concerned for him."

She called 911, and police and firefighters descended upon the shopping center.

"Kind of unconventional, something we don't deal with every day," said Capt. Jaeson Daniels, a spokesman for DeKalb County Fire & Rescue.

Fire and rescue personnel jumped into action. As they cut away part of the vent, they could see how narrow the space was where the man was trapped.

"I'm glad that our guys, in particular our heavy rescue unit, carries a lot of different tools and we were able to use a lot of them today to get him out safely," he said.

When rescuers finally freed the man, police officers put him in handcuffs and escorted him to an awaiting ambulance. He was complaining of dehydration and friction burns on his arms from where he slid down the shaft, so paramedics took him to a hospital to be checked out.

Detectives did not immediately say what charges the man will face or speculate on his motive for entering the building.

"He didn't give a statement on what he was actually doing, but it's pretty apparent," said Daniels. "We'll let PD sort those things out."

"I didn't ask," said Davis, the Army recruiter. "I'm just glad they didn't turn the oven on because he would've been toast."

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