Two 13-year-old girls who went exploring the old Concrete-Central grain elevator Thursday afternoon became disoriented and lost in the century-old structure as darkness set in and had to be rescued, fire officials reported.
The two eighth graders from Southside Elementary School were “both cold and scared” by the time their ordeals ended about 9 p.m,, according to Fire Division Chief Patrick M. Britzzalaro, who directed the rescue operation.
Despite warnings, the two girls shimmied their way up the broken stairways in the grain elevator in the afternoon and became disoriented and lost track of one another on the fifth and sixth floors, the chief said. One of the girls used her cell phone to call for help about 7:30 p.m.
“The one girl’s cell phone died early in the afternoon, and it’s just lucky the other one’s was still working, otherwise they likely would have both died up there,” Britzzalaro said.
Police officer Robert Larusch of the South District, who grew up near the grain elevators, was able to locate the girls and direct rescue crews to go to the entrance to the grain elevator at 175 Buffalo River Road, rather than its other entrance at 750 Ohio St., the fire chief said.
With all 13 of the Buffalo Fire Department’s rescue crew members at the scene, the chief said the first girl was slowly brought down from the fifth floor with firefighters holding on to her as she came down a ladder shortly before 9 p.m.
The other girl, who apparently “froze” on the sixth floor, was brought down the same way about 9:15 p.m.
Neither girl was injured, and neither was taken to a hospital for a medical examination.
The girls, who were not identified, were “embarrassed” by their plight, according to fire crews. They are not likely to be charged for their adventure, Britzzalaro said.