Customers Save Employees In Restaurant Floor Collapse

| by Michael Doherty
A photo of the hole in the restaurant.A photo of the hole in the restaurant.

After the floor gave way at a restaurant in Texas and trapped three employees, heroic customers saved the day and potentially the lives of the employees (video below).

Gary Bryant, 65, was ordering food with his friend Margaret Henderson on Aug. 1 when the floor in a Church's Chicken restaurant caved in. Three employees fell into the hole, and deep fryers landed on top of them, according to KTRK.

"I'm a grown man, 65-years-old, and I feel like breaking down and crying," Bryant said.

Bryant said that as soon as the cave-in happened, he jumped over the counter to help without thinking. Photos and video from the scene show smoke billowing from the fryers inside.

"At first I reached and grabbed her arms and I tried to pull her," he said. "She wouldn't give. It just rolled all the hide off her. I had two handfuls of hide."

Bryant and Henderson managed to get two of the employees out, but said a third was trapped underneath the fryers.

"That girl in there was literally cooking," said Henderson. "Her body was cooking in the grease."

Eventually all three employees were rescued from the hole, but are all in critical condition at a local hospital. The worker who was stuck beneath the fryers is reported to have third degree burns on 75 percent of her body.

The women were identified as Erica Acevedo, 26, Hugolina Guerrero, and Montserrat Damian, according to the Daily Mail.

Responding firefighters said the workers may not be alive without Bryant and Henderson's help. 

"I'm not no hero, not at all, period," Bryant told KTRK. "I couldn't stand that girl begging. I would hope somebody would either shoot me or try to get me out of there, because she was going through that much."

Henderson said that neither she nor Bryant will ever be the same after witnessing the grim scene. "But just imagine those girls' lives," she added. "Their lives are ruined."

Livingston Fire chief Corky Cochran said the hole the workers fell into was around three and a half to four feet deep.

"There are different levels there, but there's apparently a kind of a cavity under the building," Cochran said.

It's unclear what caused the floor to collapse in the building.

Church's Chicken released a statement expressing its sympathy for the employees who were injured by the incident.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the employees and their families who were impacted by an unfortunate incident in a franchise location in Livingston, Texas," the company said. "The Church's Partners Foundation will provide some immediate support to the families."

"We are working closely with the franchisee who is working with the authorities to determine the cause of the accident," the statement went on to say. "At this time, we do not know when the restaurant will reopen."

Source: KTRK, Daily Mail, Green News/YouTube / Photo Credit: Polk County Today via Daily Mail

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