WATCH: Firefighters Rescue Teen Trapped In Former Bank Vault At N.Y. Store
By Jason Hall
June 29, 2021
The Port Jefferson Fire Department shared a video of the rescue on its Facebook account and said it used air chisels and hammer drills to breach the 12" thick wall last Tuesday (June 22) afternoon.
The teenager, Giavanna Diesso of Smithtown, said she was shopping with her mother and friends when her 7-year-old brother pushed the propped steel vault door leading to the changing area closed with her on the other side, ABC 7 New York reports.
"I was pushing and they were pulling and it wasn't opening," Giavanna told Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne.
Giavanna's mother, Danielle Diesso, quickly called 9-1-1 after employees realized there wasn't a way to open the door.
The Port Jefferson Fire Department responded to the scene within minutes of receiving the call.
Assistant Fire Chief Steve Erland said responders' first goal was to ensure that Giavanna had enough air to breathe while trying to get her out.
"Once we identified there was a vent entering, then we stepped back and we took a role in determining whether we're going to go through the door or the wall," Erland said "We ended up choosing the wall."
Erland said they had Giavanna FaceTime them so they could view the inside of the room and door from the opposite side of the wall, which was composed of 18 inches of brick and concrete.
"We used hammer drills, we used our jaws of life, our cutter," Erland said. "Pretty much any tool that was on our rescue truck we used to get access to this area."
Erland confirmed the department went through numerous demolition hammers and needed to call a nearby tool rental store, Taylor True Value Rental, for more hammers, which owner Brian Iadarola provided at no cost.
Erland said more than 60 first responders were at the scene lending assistance including the Terryville Fire Department, Port Jefferson EMS and Suffolk County Police Emergency.
Giavanna said she eventually saw a hole pop through and was pulled through by firefighters.
The entire operation is reported to have taken 90 minutes, according to ABC 7 New York.