A man was rescued from a garbage chute at a Washington, D.C., apartment building after he fell inside while looking for his girlfriend's cell phone.
D.C Fire spokesman Vito Maggiolo said the department got a call about the incident at about 3:13 a.m Sunday.
“I thought, ‘Well this sounds like an unusual incident,’ but in the fire department and fire services, you learn to expect the unexpected,” he told InsideEdition.com Monday.
The fire department posted about the rescue on Twitter.
7th St. NW: Feeding fresh air down trash chute as we continue to evaluate a safe means of removal. Confined space rescue assign. on scene. pic.twitter.com/FcLeCxu5ZC— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) July 23, 2017
Maggiolo said the unidentified man told the department he'd been throwing out the trash on the third floor of the building and he thought he might have had his girlfriend’s cell phone with him.
He believed it had fallen down the trash chute with the garbage so he tried to retrieve it.
“He leaned in with one hand to brace himself by putting his hand against the back wall of the chute,” Maggiolo said. “His hand slipped and when it slipped, he lost balance and fell.”
He was able to call 911 from his own phone.
Person trapped in trash chute 777 7th St NW. Person conscious and alert. Working on rescue plan. pic.twitter.com/yTFXJuYelu— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) July 23, 2017
Maggiolo said the man fell about one floor because there was trash already piled up in the chute. The man told Maggiolo that he didn’t land hard because he managed to control his fall and land on his feet.
Maggiolo said there was no chute opening between the ground floor and third floor, so a harness used by Special Operations was the favorable option.
7th St NW: adult male removed from trash chute using a harness and haul method. Victim treated & released on scene. pic.twitter.com/0fABraLLAr— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) July 23, 2017
The harness was sent down to the man and the firefighters were able to pull him up to safety with a rope.
“He had no injuries and was treated and released on the scene,” Maggiolo said. “The whole rescue took about an hour.”
It was not confirmed whether the man ever found his girlfriend's cell phone.
Maggiolo said this is not the first report of someone falling down a garbage chute. He said they received a phone call about a year ago after a woman fell down a chute in a Columbia Heights neighborhood.