Man extracted from gap between downtown office buildings

A man spent hours wedged in a half-metre gap between two downtown buildings Thursday afternoon before construction workers heard his cries for help.

City of Red Deer fire-medics move a man who was rescued from a gap between the former Park Hotel building and the Executive Place building Thursday.

A man spent hours wedged in a half-metre gap between two downtown buildings Thursday afternoon before construction workers heard his cries for help.

Red Deer firefighters had to cut a hole through the wall of the nearly complete Executive Place office tower downtown to rescue the shivering man who was discovered by construction workers about 3:30 p.m.

It took fire-medics about an hour to free the man, who is in his 20s, by cutting a one-metre-by-one-metre hole in the wall of the office tower.

“We measured out where he was and put a helmet on him, and chopped the cement out, pulled his head out, and out he came,” said fire department Platoon Chief Jeff Lunder.

“We still don’t know how he fell in there. He said he was jumping from building to building.”

The man, who was not involved with the construction project, told rescuers he was trapped for five hours before someone heard him.

“The construction workers discovered him. He was screaming at them.

“He wasn’t right at the bottom either. He was stuck in there,” said Lunder, who estimated the man was about 60 centimetres from bottom.

Fire-medics kept the man warm with blankets and a portable heater.

He was dressed only in light clothing on a day when the afternoon temperature hovered around -13C.

“He was alert and talking to us.

“Of course, he was very, very cold, hypothermic at the time.”

Emergency services later reported the man escaped his ordeal with only mild hypothermia and minor injuries.

Lunder said fire-medics tried unsuccessfully to pull him out through the gap between the buildings.

“There just wasn’t enough room to work.”

The decision was made to cut a hole through one of the walls trapping him. The safer option was to go through the new office tower rather than the 107-year-old building next door used by Latina La Tienda.

“This is an old, old building. You take some bricks out of it and you never know,” said Lunder.

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