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Customer freed after spending night trapped inside NYC bank vault

Customer trapped overnight inside vault in Midtown basement

NEW YORK -- A man spent more than nine hours trapped inside a bank vault overnight in Midtown, Manhattan. 

The customer was accessing his safety deposit box in the basement of the World Diamond Tower at 580 Fifth Ave., when the doors closed and he became trapped at around 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday. 

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Posted by CBS New York on Wednesday, October 25, 2023

FDNY officials said the community vault is owned by DGA Security and utilized by a number of Diamond District businesses.

"Once it's closed, it's on a timing mechanism. That vault does not reopen until a certain amount of time passes," Chief of Department John Hodgens told reporters on the scene. 

Watch FDNY update on rescue effort

Firefighters tried to cut through the vault's concrete wall, but once they hit metal plating, decided to wait until it would automatically unlock in the morning.

"The problem with the plating is we'd have to use our torches on there, which would infect the environment of the person inside the vault," Hodgens said.

Crews used a phone and cameras inside the vault to communicate with the man the entire time, making sure he was OK. He was later treated by EMS on the scene and released with no injuries. 

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