Teen Gets Locked In Vault While Exploring Vacant Brooklyn Spice Factory; Freed by FDNY

The teenager was evaluated at the scene and is expected to be OK

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A 15-year-old boy is free after a harrowing ordeal that started when one of his friends accidentally locked him a vault at an abandoned Brooklyn building late Thursday, authorities say.

The teen and two friends went through a break in the fence and a previously pried-open back door to get inside the run-down, vacant spice warehouse on Franklin Avenue and Montgomery Street in Crown Heights, police said. As they were exploring the factory, they discovered a 4-foot by 4-foot vault that was open and empty.

One of the teens entered and another closed the door behind him. It quickly became clear the door had become locked shut.

The other teen quickly called 911 and firefighters raced to the scene.

"There was another kid here that was with the other kid. And he came and he showed the members how to get into the locked building to show them where the vault was," said FDNY Battalion Chief Tim Gimpel.

Firefighters worked on forcing the door open and cutting the hinges. They cut through an eighth of an inch of steel and teen inches of brick in an effort to free the teen, who they said they were talking to through the whole process.

"We had a small hole, we were able to talk to the kid inside the vault. He was breathing, it was fine. We had him stand back," said Gimpel. "We handed him a blanket at some point because we were creating some sparks and protected them with the blanket."

While it wasn't immediately clear just how long he was trapped, eventually there was enough of a hole for the frightened teen to squirm out of. He was checked out by emergency personnel at the scene and was met by his father. Charges are not expected to be filed against the teen, but the Gimpel wanted to use the incident to send a message to teens and their parents.

"We don't want them going into these buildings if they're locked up. What was great about this particular incident is the kids stuck around and met the fire department units and showed them where this kid was inside, which saved a lot of valuable time," said Gimpel.

The NYPD later secured the area to prevent future break-ins.

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