The man became trapped after he walked into an empty visiting room. The door was wedged open because contractors had been installing cameras in the room, but when the door shut behind the man, it locked, trapping him inside.
“Unfortunately the door locked behind him,” Cara Smith, executive director of the Cook County Jail said, according to CBS Chicago.
The man remained trapped in the area over the holiday weekend, from around 6 o’clock Saturday evening until 1 o’clock Monday morning.
“For approximately 30 hours. A very, very long time by any measure,” said Smith.
There were stools inside the room, so the man thought he was waiting to visit his son.
“After about two hours he realized he was in the wrong room,” Smith said.
The man says he yelled and banged on the door to try to get attention, but in maximum security the walls and doors are extremely thick so no one heard his cries for help.
“There’s about two feet of cement and two steel doors between him and the outside,” Smith told the Chicago Sun-Times.
He finally got help by breaking a fire sprinkler which resulted in the fire department being alerted.
“Brilliantly, he broke the sprinkler head off which alerted the fire department so they were able to identify where it was coming from and they went in and found him,” Smith told the Chicago Tribune.
Authorities want to know why the door was left open and why no one noticed the visitor trapped in the room.
“We’re been looking at how and why and what went wrong,” Smith said. “Multiple things obviously failed including a contractor leaving a door open while they did work in our jail. It was a perfect storm of circumstances that led to this horrible incident.”