(LIVINGSTON, Texas) — After the kitchen floor suddenly collapsed in a Church’s Chicken restaurant in Livingston, Texas — causing deep fryers to topple over and splash hot cooking oil on employees — two customers came to the rescue, according to the Livingston Volunteer Fire Department (LVFD).
“When the floor collapsed, the deep fryers tilted forward in the direction of three staff members, immersing them in hot grease,” LVFD Chief Corky Cochran told ABC News. The harrowing incident happened early this past Monday evening at the fast food restaurant.
Two customers, who had been placing orders when the incident happened, managed to get two workers out. But one employee got “stuck in crevice in the floor” and trapped between appliances, he added.
“That girl in there was literally cooking,” Margaret Henderson, one of the customers, told ABC station KTRK-TV in Houston.
“Her body was cooking in the grease,” she said.
Henderson’s friend, Gary Bryant, immediately jumped over the counter and “put himself in harm’s way to pull out the girl out from the rubble,” Cochran told ABC News.
“He did the best thing someone could do,” Cochran said. “He’s a hero — and not just a good Samaritan, but a great Samaritan.”
But Bryant told KTRK that he was “no hero” and that he just “couldn’t stand” to see the “girl begging.”
“Every time I think about this — I mean, I’m a grown man, 65 years old — and I feel like breaking down and crying,” Bryant said.
After emergency personnel responded to the scene, the three severely burned employees were transported to the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston, according to Cochran.
The employees were listed in critical, but stable condition as of Thrusday morning, KTRK reported.
Cochran told ABC News that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was investigating the floor collapse.
A public affairs officer for OSHA’s Dallas office did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.
Church’s Chicken corporate management sent the following statement to ABC News:
“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 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. At this time, we do not know when the restaurant will reopen.”
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