Jessica McCauley wondered if she would get out of her backyard garden shed alive.
McCauley is a single mom from Duncan with a three-year-old toddler named Boone. One hot and sunny afternoon about two weeks ago, she went to her shed to retrieve an inflatable swimming pool for her son.
She said she found the swimming pool inside the small windowless shed, but when she went back in for other supplies, Boone slammed the door behind her and slipped the padlock back into place as a joke on his mom.
McCauley said it was dark and hot in the shed, but she didn’t realize the dilemma she was in until she tried to push the door back open from the inside and it wouldn’t move.
“Boone thought it was funny at first, but when I started screaming for help, he began to cry and started [unsuccessfully] using a plastic measuring cup to try and dig me out of the shed,” she said.
“He continued crying and screaming on and off and I was really concerned he might head to the pool that I was filling up with water and drown.”
McCauley said she screamed so long and hard for help in the baking hot shed that she began to fear that she would pass out from the exertion, which would be of no help to either her or Boone.
She said the incident happened around dinner time, so neighbours that would have normally been in their yards and heard her screaming were inside and out of hearing range.
“I managed to pull out some wood from above the wall and below the roof that I could grasp to get air and some light flowing in, and then found a bush-trimmer saw and began working away at the wood at the spot I thought the lock was,” McCauley said.
“I also found a snow shovel that I used for leverage and used baseboard pieces to pry the door open as I slowly made progress. It took me almost an hour and half to finally get out of the shed and, while Boone was upset, he was fine and hugged me hard.”
McCauley said that, since the incident, her father has repositioned the padlock on the door about a foot higher so Boone could no longer reach it, and installed a bracing stick that would hold the door ajar if it closed behind her again.
“I really thought I was going to die in the shed a few times,” she said.
“I remembered watching survival shows on TV and they always say to stay calm and work out what must be done. I had no cell phone or any way to get in touch with anyone at the time, so I did whatever I had to. Needless to say I was scared, and I was lucky it happened later in the day when it wasn’t so hot out.”
McCauley said she hopes that by telling her story, others will learn from it and avoid finding themselves in similar circumstances
Const. Amron Christensen, a spokeswoman for the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, advised that people keep their cell phones on them in case of emergencies like this, always tell someone where they will be, and/or check into the locking features in their homes and out buildings to try to be aware and prevent such incidents from occurring.