Firefighters Find Boy's Finger in Escalator

Each step of the escalator was removed as firefighters, deputies and a maintenance supervisor searched for the toddler's finger

Firefighters took apart an escalator -- section by section -- to locate a boy's severed finger.

The 17-month-old toddler's index finger was cut off on the moving escalator he was descending in a Van Nuys courthouse, authorities said.

Firefighters took the escalator's steps apart and found the finger after nearly 90 minutes. An escalator maintenance supervisor assisted deputies and firefighters as they examined every gear, chain, step and pulley.

Surgeons re-attached the boy's finger at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, according to Brian Humphrey of the  Los Angeles Fire Department. An official at Northridge Hospital Medical Center late Wednesday afternoon  declined to say if the surgery was successful, citing patient confidentiality  laws.

The amputation was reported at 8:51 a.m. Tuesday in the Van  Nuys Civic Center.

The boy's mother was holding him and witnesses told firefighters the boy  had been descending on the escalator from the second to first floor, "when his left index finger was traumatically amputated in the comb-and-groove of the foot tread at or near the lowest ('arrival') level of the machinery," Humphrey  said.

Bystanders, including on-duty deputies at the courthouse,  located the escalator's emergency stop switch at the base of the handrail.

Paramedics described the toddler as "calm and exceedingly brave," Humphrey said. They found the finger and took the boy to Richie Pediatric Trauma Center at Northridge Hospital.

Firefighters placed it in a cool, sterile dressing  inside a clean plastic bag held tightly by firefighters, who sprinted to a  waiting LAFD emergency vehicle, Humphrey said. With permission for a "light-and-siren'' transport of the found finger,  firefighters swiftly covered the 7.7-mile distance to the hospital, Humphrey  said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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