Underwear-clad man rescued from inside wall of New York apartment

By Ben Hooper   |   Jan. 11, 2017 at 9:26 AM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- The New York Fire Department said more than 40 firefighters responded to an apartment to free a nearly nude man trapped inside a woman's wall.

The FDNY said a resident of a seven-story apartment building in the Kips Bay area of Manhattan called 911 just after 12 a.m. Tuesday to a report a man shouting for help from inside the wall of her first-floor apartment, near her kitchen vent.

The woman said she heard a loud crash coming from the vent before the man started shouting for help.

"I freaked ... out for a couple of minutes, and then I went over to the kitchen and I heard someone panting and breathing like they were in obvious pain. They were freaking out," the resident, Gjyste Margilaj, 33, told the New York Daily News. "I opened the kitchen vent so he could breathe."

She said she initially thought she might have been targeted by a prankster.

"I thought he was playing a joke," Margilaj said. "I couldn't comprehend what was happening. It was so bizarre."

More than 40 firefighters responded to the home to extract the man from the wall.

"The shaft was so small the patient's body took up the entire void so power tools were out of the question. We pretty much exposed it by hand and between the sheet metal and the shaft was wire mesh with sharp edges. We used tin snips and dulled all the edges before we took him out," FDNY Battalion Chief Patrick Tansey said in a statement posted to Facebook.

The 30-year-old man, who was dressed only in his underwear, was released after about 45 minutes of effort by firefighters.

The man was found to have recently moved into a fourth-floor apartment in the building. Firefighters said he had been with friends on the roof of the building when he apparently decided to try to reach his apartment through the ventilation system.

Firefighters said he may have ended up on the first floor because he had another destination in mind.

"He had told the occupant who called us something about a pool in the basement, but I don't know," Tansey told WPIX-TV.

The man did not appear intoxicated and was released after being checked out at a local hospital.

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