911 dispatchers receive a variety of emergency phone calls every day.
While most of them are seriously intense situations, one phone call in particular that came in on Sept. 22 might be one of the most light-hearted and memorable ever received in the Cleveland area.
Michael Scalise had told his wife that he would look after the chickens while she was away on a business trip.
The coop was built for the family by an Amish carpenter and is home to eight hens. It’s something of a hobby for mother and son.
The family keeps the coop behind their house.
“I was helping the hens back into the house. I had left these keys in the door,” Michael told WJW.
He had his back to little Sam, his son, who was watching him tend to the chickens.
Michael turned around just in time to see the toddler turn the coop’s key in the lock and pull it out.
“And the next thing I knew, I was locked in the coop. I tried to get him to use the keys to open up the door and he failed a number of times,” Michael said.
The former U.S. Army paratrooper and medic with the 82nd Airborne, pondered what he could possibly do to get himself out of a situation that absolutely stunk.
There was also the safety of his toddler son to consider at a time when Michael was definitely penned up.
“If he had run off or something like that, I may have had to try to break it, but it’s one of my wife’s favorite things, so I didn’t really want to break it because I didn’t want to be in trouble.”
That was when Michael decided to enlist the help of the 911 service, and he made a point of letting them know it was really a non-emergency.
“I have a non-emergency request,” Michael told the dispatcher. “I was locked in my chicken coop by my 3-year-old son. My 3-year-old son locked me in my chicken coop. He has the key, but he can’t get it into the door lock.”
“Okay, we’ll get you out of there,” said the dispatcher.
As Michael waited, he wanted to be sure nothing would happen to the keys. So he told his son to put them in his pocket.
Michael said Sam agreed to the task, but then things got a bit more complicated after that.
“Daddy, the key fell under a big rock,” Sam said.
The rock to which he was referring was one of the pavers near the coop. The keys had gotten wedged between the pavers.
When the firefighters arrived, they were able to get the keys and let Michael out of the chicken coop, though they did have a few questions about the incident.
“It definitely felt silly trying to explain the situation to them,” Michael said. “One of them was actually really into the chickens, which is funny because I’m not into the chickens, my wife is the person who’s into the chickens.”
Certainly, that’s a family memory that will live on forever…for both the Scalise family and the firefighters.
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