Christopher McCabe, 70, a butcher and shop owner in England stepped into a freezer to retrieve some supplies for his store when the freezer door swung shut behind him. The internal release mechanism was iced over, jamming the button. McCabe grabbed a cylinder of black pudding to break the ice covering the lock. Once the ice was broken the butcher was able to push the interior release latch and escape. Moments later he was back serving his customers and has since called a refrigerator engineer to correct the issue causing the release latch to freeze.
McCabe’s industrial freezer, like many, is set at a temperature around zero degrees Fahrenheit, and getting trapped in one could cost someone their life. In Chicago, Illinois Kenneka Jenkins, 19, left a party September 9, 2017, intoxicated she wandered the halls of the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel. She stumbled upon the Hotels commercial kitchen and found her way into their commercial freezer. Her parents grew concerned when she had not returned, they called authorities who found her dead in the walk-in freezer.
In Australia a 23-year-old Indian national, Singh was working in a warehouse when he met his fate in a freezer. In April of 2013, Singh was working as normal to send money to his parents back in India when tragedy struck. Singh was using a forklift to load and unload a freezer when he became inexplicably jammed between the freezer walls and the forklift. He was not discovered by coworkers for some period and it took the Australian emergency response team a long time to free him as the forklift was stuck on ice.
By the time they freed Singh he was suffering from hypothermia but had not yet succumb. Singh was only able to hang on for a short period before the effects of the hypothermia, multiple organs shutting down and severe acidosis were too much and he passed on. It was later revealed the company had not trained Singh to operate the forklift or had received any formal form of health and safety training. The company, Laurent, was forced to close this facility after being sued in the wake of the accident.
Jay Luther, co-owner of Germantown East Café in Nashville had to put dry ice inside of his restaurant’s freezer when the power went out in June of 2012. After the power came back on Sunday, Luther went into the freezer to make sure the perishables were still frozen. Monday morning his employees returned to the restaurant and Luther was not there to let them in, so they called his partner to come open the doors. They found Luther dead in the freezer, the latch had been broken for some time and Luther could not escape.
In Cincinnati, Brandon Chandler was found in the cooler of Molly Malone’s Irish Pub. His coworkers were shocked when they showed up for work and found the man in his mid-20s dead in the cooler. What made this case particularly strange was the release mechanism inside the cooler seemed to be functional and there was no sign of struggle indicating he had made any attempt to escape. This happened in July 2017 and the cause of his death has still not been reported.
A milk Vendor for a Texaco Food Mart found 26-year-old Lori House freezing inside a cooler that was reported to be 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Lori House is suspected of having a seizure inside the cooler and was in the freezing temperature for more than an hour before she was discovered. She was transported to Dixie Regional Medical center where doctors did all they could to help the woman. Sadly, it was not enough, and House was pronounced dead at 1:10 pm the same day she was found by the milkman.
Industrial freezers and coolers can be very dangerous if you find yourself trapped in one, especially if the equipment is not properly maintained and release latches are broken or frozen. The elderly man, Christopher McCabe, who made his escape bashing black pudding into an iced-over release latch, is very lucky to be alive. His four children are just grateful the elderly man was able to free himself before hypothermia set in and caused him harm.