SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – First responders are accustomed to responding to all kinds of unusual emergencies, but a call for assistance in suburban Cleveland earlier this week may be the first of its kind.
A Shaker Heights man found himself locked inside a chicken coop and had to call the fire department for help.
The stylish chicken coop, tucked behind a home in the historic Sussex neighborhood, was built for the Scalise family by an Amish carpenter and is home to eight hens. It has become the favorite pet project of 3-year-old Sam Scalise and his mother.
When Sam’s mom was called away on a business trip, his dad volunteered to look after their chickens.
Michael Scalise told FOX 8, “I was helping the hens back into the house. I had left these keys in the door.”
There were more than just ruffled feathers when Michael Scalise saw little Sam, from outside the coop, turn the keys in the lock to the door and pull them 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,” he said.
Michael Scalise, a former U.S. Army paratrooper and medic with the 82nd Airborne, considered different ways to fly the coop but was most concerned about the safety of his son.
“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’s when Scalise decided he needed help and called the non-emergency number for the Shaker Heights Fire Department.
Scalise told the dispatcher, “I have a non-emergency request. 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.”
The dispatcher responded, “Okay, we’ll get you out of there.”
While Michael Scalise was waiting for help to arrive, he told his son to put the keys to the coop in his pocket.
“He said, ‘Okay,’ but about 10 seconds later, he said, ‘Daddy, the key fell under a big rock,’ which is one of the pavers you can see over there by the coop.”
Firefighters were not quite sure what to make of the call, but they did arrive within ten minutes, and sure enough, they found a very relieved Michael Scalise inside the coop waiting to be rescued. They were able to retrieve the keys wedged between the pavers, and after freeing Michael Scalise, they just had a couple of questions for little Sam and his dad about the most unusual incident of the day.
“It definitely felt silly trying to explain the situation to them,” said Scalise. “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.”
When little Sam Scalise told his mom what happened, he said, “Daddy got locked in the chicken coop.”
It should come as no surprise that Sam has now decided that he wants to be a firefighter for Halloween.