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Between a wok and hard place: trespasser was trapped in Chinese restaurant’s grease vent for two days, San Francisco police say

  • The man was arrested after being released from his slippery ordeal by firefighters
PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 December, 2018, 2:43am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 December, 2018, 4:53am

The call to San Francisco Bay Area firefighters came Wednesday morning. Someone reported hearing a faint moaning, a cry for help coming from a Chinese restaurant in a San Lorenzo strip mall.

When Alameda County firefighters arrived, the moaning grew louder. It was coming from inside the kitchen, above the stove. There, inside a tight metal grease vent that led to the roof, they found the source of distress.

Firefighters cut away sheet metal and found a man covered in grease and soot.

The man, whom authorities have not identified, told firefighters he had been stuck in the slick vent for two days.

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It is unclear whether he was trying to break into the vacant restaurant, but he was arrested on suspicion of trespassing, said Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sergeant Ray Kelly.

The man was in good spirits despite his situation, Kelly said, although temperatures in the area had dipped to 6 degrees Celsius (43F) on Tuesday night.

“One of his problems was he was stuck in a smooth metal circular tube, and his body was greased up. He could not get any traction,” Kelly said. “I’m sure he tried.”