Teen rescued after being trapped in abandoned bank vault in Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Rescuers have freed a teenager who became trapped in an abandoned bank vault in Hollywood.

Hollywood Fire Rescue said two teens were walking around a vacated office building that once housed a former Bank of America branch in the area of SR-441 and Washington Street around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“Got trapped in there somehow. Him and his buddy were playing,” Hollywood Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Pat Keller said. “Somehow they got entry into this abandoned building.”

One of the teens, a 17-year-old, decided to enter the bank’s vault only to have the door close behind him.

“They didn’t know that the vault was still active. Playing inside the vault, one of them got trapped inside,” Hollywood Police officer Christian Lata said. “Luckily, the other one was outside and was able to call 911.”

The teen’s friend called 911 about two hours after he got trapped, according to fire rescue.

“The vault is approximately 14 by 14 feet, and it’s about 2 feet thick concrete walls with a huge steel vault door,” said Keller, “which is about the same thickness.”

A tactical team worked with a vault specialist to free the teen. Officials told 7News that steel rebar prevented their saws from cutting through the concrete, however.

At some point, a Bank of America employee from the branch across the street gave rescuers the combination to the vault, allowing them to free the teen without having to cut through the steel door.

“An old employee from across the street, which the bank moved to, was able to come up with a combination which worked,” Lata said.

The teen was freed from the vault just before 5 p.m. Both teens were later seen entering a car with a parent. That parent, officials said, was visibly upset.

It’s unclear if the teens will face any charges.

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