Girl’s hand trapped in escalator handrail at California mall

A 13-year-old girl’s hand got tangled beneath the handrail of an escalator at a shopping mall in Santa Ana on Sunday, July 31, and had to be freed by firefighters.

The injury occurred at the south end of the MainPlace Mall at about 6:30 pm, Orange County Fire Authority Battalion Chief Michael Morganstern said.

About eight firefighters worked to free her on the first floor as bystanders watched.

The girl was given medication for pain while rescuers disassembled the mechanism, Morganstern said. Then, a small Dremel was used to grind away remaining plastic and metal binding her hand.

“Sometimes we used the biggest tools we could absolutely have,” Morganstern said. “Sometimes we use the smallest tool in our bag of tricks. … The biggest tool any firefighter can have is their brain.”

The process took over an hour.

Afterward, the girl weeped and called out for her mother with her right arm wrapped in bandages as she was on a stretcher that was loaded into an ambulance.