After hours of drilling, firefighters free man trapped between buildings

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After several tense hours, rescuers managed to free a man who was stuck between the walls of two buildings on Makaloa Street Friday afternoon.

It happened just before 2 p.m. A security guard told us the man was bouncing a baseball on top of the building next to Walgreens.

“He was playing some baseball in the upper parking lot and when the tenant called, I was going to chase him away, but when I got here, he was already down inside the wall. Apparently, he got a couple of baseballs stuck inside the wall. He was going to pick them up with a pole, and he fell inside,” said Ray Rodrigues.

Police tell us he slid 12-15 feet between two buildings. The space was reported to be approximately seven to nine inches wide.

First, firefighters tried to pull him up with a rope.

When that didn’t work, they spent hours using drills, hammers, and saws to cut through the concrete wall and rebar of the Walgreens parking structure to get to him. The man could be heard screaming, and firefighters tried to calm him down.

Crews managed to pull him free by 5:25 p.m.

Emergency Medical Services says the 55-year-old man was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

“I had to work up there one time and cover a hole, because I’m a maintenance guy and I almost fell between the wall and I was freaking out,” Rodrigues said. “Apparently, he wedged down the wall and I don’t how he did it, but he did. That’s crazy. That’s just crazy.”

“It’s not very safe, but the building code allows buildings to be built right on the property line,” explained construction expert Lance Luke. “My recommendation would be to put some kind of screen or protective area between the spaces between the two buildings. Now, you have to get both building owners to agree to that, but that would be safer than how it is now.”

A city spokesman says an inspector will be sent to look at the site sometime next week.

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