MOHEGAN LAKE, N.Y. ‒ A Mohegan Lake teen is in "good spirits" after having his arm trapped in a heating register more than an hour before being freed by firefighters.
Josh Middleton, 18, of Jerome Drive, was standing on a bathroom sink trying to repair a heating vent cover when he dropped his cell phone into the duct while using it as a flashlight. When he tried to retrieve the phone from the less than one foot square opening, his arm and shoulder got stuck.
"I went in after it, trying to get it, and I ended up with my entire arm stuck in the wall," he said.
After trying for 45 minutes to free himself, Middleton used his foot to wedge a wireless land-line phone against the wall and guide it toward his free hand to dial 911.
Lake Mohegan Fire Department received the call at about 12:20 p.m., after Middleton's arm had been stuck for close to an hour and a half.
Chief Brian Wolert said this was the first time he'd seen such an incident.
"This was unique in its style," he said.
Firefighters cut open the wall opposite the bathroom while a second team tried to lift Middleton and dislodge his arm. Eventually, they succeeded. Middleton did not finish repairing the register.
Middleton said if he hadn't been talking to a friend on the phone before trying to fix the register he wouldn't have had a phone nearby and would have had to wait to call 911 until someone came home at 3:30.
"It hurt a lot, but I'm good now, and I got my cell phone too," he said. The Mahopac High School graduate said he's seeking medical clearance to join the Army in the coming weeks and hopes to be a chaplain's assistant.