Diamonds / Industry

Man Trapped Overnight in Diamond District Vault


A 23-year-old man emerged unharmed Wednesday morning after spending 10 hours locked in a DGA Security vault in New York City’s Diamond District, according to a New York Police Department spokesperson.

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, at around 8:45 p.m., police responded to a 911 call at the DGA Vault and Business Center at 580 Fifth Ave. A man who’d been checking his safety deposit box had gotten trapped in the 20-by-40-foot space when its door was accidentally closed, locking him inside.

“Once it’s closed, it’s on a timing mechanism—that vault does not reopen until a certain amount of time passes,” Fire Department of New York (FDNY) assistant chief John Sarrocco said at a news conference. There’s no way to manually override the lock from the outside, he said.

The FDNY’s rescue team possessed enough tools to breach the vault, but once they started the process, they decided it would be safer for the man to wait for the door to open automatically. At about 6:15 the next morning, the vault door swung open, and the man was released.

The safe has “large concrete walls, with steel reinforcing bars and also steel plating,” Sarrocco explained. “We got to the metal plating and determined at that point, after about 10 hours, we would hold off…. The problem with the plating is we’d have to use our torches on there, and we’d have to affect the environment for that person inside the vault.”

The FDNY stayed in contact with the man the whole night, he said. “We had video on the person, and also there’s a phone, so we had audio,” said Sarrocco. “So we were constantly assessing his health during that time.”

After he got out of the vault, the man was evaluated by Emergency Medical Services. No injuries were reported, and the man left without talking to reporters.

No criminality is suspected regarding this incident, according to the NYPD. DGA did not respond to a request for comment.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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By: Rob Bates

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