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Conn. man rescued after feet become trapped in mall escalator

Firefighters in Waterford were initially dispatched for a person injured in a fall

By Brian Hallenbeck
The Day

WATERFORD, Conn. — Firefighters used hydraulic tools Saturday to extricate a man whose feet had become stuck in an escalator inside the JCPenney store at the Crystal Mall.

Once freed, the man was taken by ambulance to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, Michael Howley, the town’s director of fire services, said Wednesday.

Howley said he could not comment on the extent of the man’s injuries.

On-site store personnel referred a reporter to JCPenney’s corporate headquarters, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Crystal Mall store, in the midst of a going-out-of-business sale, is scheduled to close at the end of the day on May 26, employees said.

Howley said crews from the Jordan, Oswegatchie and Cohanzie fire companies were dispatched to the mall in response to a call that someone had been injured in a fall.

“Once on the scene, they found it was more than that,” he said. “A patient had some entrapment in the equipment of the escalator.”

He said firefighters used hand tools and hydraulic tools to extricate the patient, “while delivering patient care,” and turned the man over to Waterford Ambulance personnel, who took him to the hospital.

Waterford Ambulance’s director of operations did not return a phone message.

“The crews did a nice job,” Howley said. “They originally thought it was a fall but they adapted well, went into rescue mode and did what they needed to do.”

A Waterford firefighters’ union Facebook post said the first firefighters on the scene found “a male who had both feet entangled between the top step and top landing of an escalator.”

Rescuers used a hydraulic Rabbit Tool and a battery-operated Spreader, also known as the Jaws of Life, to free the man in about 10 minutes, the union’s post says, adding, “The victim was alert and oriented and surprisingly calm throughout the entire ordeal.”

Entrances to the escalator traveling from JCPenney’s first floor to its second floor were blocked and marked “out of service” Wednesday. “Please use the elevator,” read a sign.

The down escalator was operating.

JCPenney announced in February that the Crystal Mall store would be closing.

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