An 8-year-old boy who was trapped in a gun safe in West Virginia was freed after 30 minutes thanks to the fast action of a locksmith.
The boy somehow became locked in the safe at the store. Rescue squads were able to respond quickly and feed oxygen to the boy through an opening at the bottom of the safe, even though the safe wasn’t completely air-tight.
The electronic lock on the safe wasn’t operational and rescue squads were unable to free the boy when the fail-safe malfunctioned. A locksmith was called in and helped cut the safe open. After the locksmith cut around the lock, the fire department used rescue spreaders to remove the lock from the door.
The boy was trapped for about 30 minutes in the safe. It isn’t known exactly how the boy locked himself into the safe because a handle must be moved into the lock position from the outside of the safe.
It may seem like a once-in-a-million scenario but many children have locked themselves into safes over the years. In 2008, three boys in Salt Lake City were playing in a gun vault in Dick’s Sporting Goods when their friend shut the door. While the vault had a fail-safe, it didn’t work and firefighters had to use pneumatic air tools to cut off the back of the safe.
A similar case occurred in Michigan in 2017 when a gun safe was delivered to a suburban home. Three young children, aged 3 and 4, crawled into the safe and it locked. Unfortunately, the instructions for the safe and fail-safe combination were locked in with the boys. A hydraulic spreader and saws were used to free the children after 12 minutes.
Many cases of children becoming trapped in gun safes happen inside sporting goods stores, such as a recent case of a 5-year-old girl who got locked inside a safe on display at Academy Sporting Goods in Texas. After customers repeatedly tried to open the safe, the locking mechanism locked everyone out, even store staff. There was no locksmith nearby in this case, forcing firefighters to use hand tools for 22 minutes to free the girl.
Another common factor in these cases is that the fail-safe mechanisms that allow these vaults or safes in stores to be opened with a common combination can fail. Quick action from local locksmiths and rescue responders can save children in these cases from the terror and potential dangers of being trapped in what is essentially a metal box.