The California man is now recovering in hospital after his ordeal

By Joelle Goldstein
December 12, 2018 10:45 PM
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Alameda County Sheriff's Office

A California man has been rescued after he spent two days trapped in an abandoned restaurant’s grease vent.

The Alameda County Fire Department was able to remove the 29-year-old unidentified man from the sheet metal grease duct on Wednesday after someone heard him crying for help, according to a statement from Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

“We checked, and he was not Santa Claus,” Kelly joked to The Mercury News.

Earlier in the day, Igor Campos was walking down the street when he heard a faint voice coming from a nearby shuttered Chinese restaurant, ABC7’s Laura Anthony reports.

The San Lorenzo local immediately called authorities who, after arriving at the scene, determined the voice was coming from the roof vent of the vacant Chef Kwong’s Chinese Restaurant.

The roof of the Chinese restaurant
Alameda County Sheriff's Office
The vent
Alameda County Fire Department

In addition to the fire and police departments, the Alameda County Health Department and Building Department also responded to the call.

To catch a glimpse of the man, first responders used a ladder to climb the roof and were able to see him trapped in the vent above the stove.

From there, they began their 30-minute-long rescue, the Alameda Fire Department said on Instagram.

The man’s shoe in the vent
Alameda County Sheriff's Office

After successfully removing him, the man allegedly told authorities that he had been stuck in there for 48 hours, unable to remove himself from the sludge.

“The man was covered in grease and oil and was trapped in such a condition that he could not move,” Kelly explained. “The man was physically exhausted and suffering from dehydration.”

“He was very dirty, very cold,” he added to the Mercury News. “He was very thankful to see us.”

Firefighters rescuing the man
Alameda County Fire Department

Once he was cut loose from the sheet metal, the man was transported to a local hospital for treatment. He is expected to make a full recovery, according to Kelly.

“We are very thankful to our citizen reporter and our firefighters for saving this man,” Kelly said. “It is likely he would not have survived another day given the circumstances.”

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Police are now investigating why the man climbed into the vent.

“At this time, we are conducting a trespassing and vandalism investigation. It is unknown if the suspect intended to commit a burglary. The case will be submitted to the district attorney,” police said.

He is currently in custody and the case will be submitted to the District Attorney for review. t is not clear if he has retained legal representation at this time.