VANCOUVER, Wash. — Trying to unclog a blocked garbage chute inside the Smith Tower apartment building turned a Vancouver man's world upside-down for several scary minutes on Sunday.
Shortly before 3:40 p.m., a 74-year-old resident fell into the chute on the 10th floor of the downtown building, said Jim Flaherty, spokesman for the Vancouver Fire Department.
Firefighters rushed from Station 82 to find the man face down in the chute, with only the bottom part of his legs exposed and his wife holding on for dear life.
"He had apparently been trying to dislodge cardboard or something, kept leaning in and finally, went in," Flaherty said.
"Our belief is that he would have gone straight down (the 10-floor drop)," Flaherty said.
Three firefighters arrived within five minutes, Flaherty said. They called for more help, but then quickly took matters into their own hands.
Understandably, the man was upset at his situation.
"He started to kick and flail, his pants fell down," Flaherty said.
The firefighters told him to twist one arm up, the other down, then firmly pulled him out.
The ordeal lasted about eight minutes from the emergency call, Flaherty said. The victim emerged scraped and bruised, but no worse for wear after firefighters checked him out.
Flaherty declined to give the man's name.
The man refused medical transport. "I think he had enough," Flaherty said.
"Can't say we've had one of those before," he added.
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