Police in California responded to reports of faint cries coming from a closed restaurant Wednesday morning to find a man stuck inside an old Chinese takeaway's dirty grease duct—and he'd apparently been trapped in there for days, ABC 7 reports.
According to a Facebook post from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, the unnamed 29-year-old man had allegedly attempted to break into the closed San Lorenzo restaurant earlier this week by pulling a Die Hard and shimmying through an exhaust vent, but he apparently misjudged the size of the duct. He got wedged inside, "covered in grease and oil " and unable to move.
The guy stayed there in the dark duct, with just the foul smell of old grease and presumably a profound sense of regret for company, for two straight days, periodically shouting for help until a neighbor named Igor Campos finally heard him.
"I keep hearing this ah, ah and I'm like, 'Who can it be?'" Campos told ABC 7. Once Campos found the guy, he quickly called 911 and tried to keep the terrified man company until the cops showed up. "I kept asking questions like, 'What's your name?'" Campos said. "And he said, 'Just please help me... please don't hurt me.' I said, 'I'm not trying to hurt you, I'm trying to help you.'"
It took firefighters almost an hour to unscrew sheet metal from the exhaust vent and dismantle it enough to pull the guy out. "The man was physically exhausted and suffering from dehydration. He was transported via ambulance to a local hospital for treatment," the Alameda Sheriff's Office wrote. "It is likely he wound [sic] not have survived another day given the circumstances."
Police are now reportedly "conducting a trespassing and vandalism investigation" into whether the guy was sneaking into the vacant restaurant to loot it for old fixtures or copper wire, but no matter what happens, he's lucky to be alive—the threat of jail time can't be any worse than two dark days inside a goddamn grease duct. He's expected to make a full recovery, but it's unclear when the guy will be able to smell Chinese food again without getting some terrifying flashbacks.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.