A 23-year-old customer was inadvertently locked inside a large vault in Manhattan’s Diamond District for nearly 10 hours before being released unharmed.
The incident occurred at DGA Securities’ vault located inside 580 Fifth Avenue The World Diamond Tower at 580 Fifth Avenue.
The customer was accessing his lock box inside the room-sized steel vault on Tuesday night when a timed mechanism unexpectedly activated, locking him inside.
Police were alerted to the situation around 8:45 p.m. and, along with FDNY personnel, worked tirelessly through the night in an attempt to free the individual.
Rescue teams managed to penetrate about 30 inches of concrete, reaching the metal plating of the vault, which was further reinforced with steel bars.
FDNY Deputy Chief John Sarrocco informed reporters of the progress and mentioned that the crews were able to communicate with the trapped man via phone and monitor him through cameras inside the vault. Given the vault’s dimensions of 20 feet by 40 feet, it was assumed that there was sufficient oxygen supply.
Despite the ongoing efforts, the vault eventually opened on its own due to its timing mechanism, releasing the man around 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday. Images captured a man with a backpack swiftly leaving the scene. “He’s fine,” Sarrocco confirmed, and police emphasized that no criminal activity is suspected in relation to the incident.
This incident brings attention to the importance of ensuring safety mechanisms and protocols in place for customers accessing secure areas within jewelry establishments. While no harm came to the individual involved, such occurrences underscore the need for jewelry businesses to regularly review and update their security systems and emergency response plans.