Jokesters lock man in vault in Arlington

Posted Friday, Feb. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A practical joke at an Arlington insurance office went awry Thursday night when a man was locked in a 10-by-10-foot vault for about four hours, a fire official said.

The office, in the 1600 block of West Randol Mill Road, was once a bank. Its vault is used for storage.

An employee was in the vault when a couple of other workers thought it would be funny to shut him inside, said Lt. Kevin Seeton, an Arlington fire spokesman.

"They thought they had the combination, but apparently they didn't," he said.

After a locksmith could not open the vault, the Fire Department's technical rescue team used power tools to cut a hole in the foot-thick reinforced concrete wall to free the man, Randy Schmelz, special operations battalion chief. It took about 21/2 hours.

"This is a once-in-a-career type thing," said Schmelz, who said he couldn't recall a time the team had to cut through concrete to rescue someone. "We train for it, though."

The man was uninjured, Seeton said. "It was probably more embarrassing than anything," he said.

Alex Branch, 817-390-7689

Twitter: @albranch1

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