A California man had to be rescued after becoming wedged in a Chinese food restaurant grease vent for nearly two days.
Authorities were called to a vacant San Lorenzo restaurant Wednesday after a neighbouring business owner said he had heard noises coming through the walls.
“I keep hearing this ‘Ah, ah ah’ and I’m like, ‘Who can it be?'” Igor Campos told ABC Action News, adding he had heard the sound for two days.
Campos managed to get into the vacant restaurant Wednesday morning, only to discover a man stuck in the grease exhaust vent in the kitchen.
“I kept asking questions like, ‘What’s your name?'” Campos told the news station. “And he said ‘Just please help me … please don’t hurt me.’ I said, ‘I’m not trying to hurt you, I’m trying to help you.'”
Emergency officials worked to determine how to free the man, who was wedged in the vent, covered in thick, black food grease.
“When first responders arrived on scene, they could hear the voice and quickly determined it was coming from a roof vent atop the restaurant,” said Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Ray Kelly. “Personnel were able to locate a 29-year-old man trapped in a sheet metal grease duct running from the roof to the kitchen.
“The man was covered in grease and oil and was trapped in such a condition that he could not move,” Kelly said.
It took firefighters about an hour to dismantle the grease duct, freeing the man.
“First off we can confirm this man was not Santa Claus and did not have legal authority to be here,” Kelly told ABC Action News. “We know sometimes suspects try to break into businesses to steal copper wire and plumbing and recycling for money. This appears to be something along those lines.”
Police said officers are conducting a trespassing and vandalism investigation while it’s unclear if the man intended to commit a burglary.