City resident Sandy Lifsey had reason to smile today. And then again, she didn't.
Lifsey, 29, who lives on the 11th floor of 200 Aisquith St., became stuck in a trash incinerator chute while searching for a partial dental plate she had accidentally dropped down the chute while emptying her garbage this morning.
She was rescued by firefighters with hardly a scratch. Her false teeth, however, were lost in the operation.
Lifsey was rescued by firefighters about 9:20 a.m. after she fell headfirst from the 9th floor into the chute, which runs from the basement to the 12th floor of the building. She later explained that her upper dental plate fell on top of the garbage and when she leaned in to retrieve it, she became stuck, then fell in.
"When we got there we could see the top of her head," said a firefighter from Engine company 32. "She had enough room to maneuver because the trash was piled up from the incinerator to the ninth floor."
The firefighter said he and other firefighters went to the 10th floor and lowered a rope to Lifsey. She was instructed to attach a rope seat to her bottom and waist and she was lifted to safety on the 10th floor.
"I started praying, 'Lord, get me out of here!'" Lifsey said later. "And I was hollering to my friend Linda to pull me out."
While Lifsey was waiting to be rescued, a man from the 10th floor started to dump his trash down the chute.
"I yelled 'Oh, I'm down here!' and he said 'How'd you get down there, baby?' and I said 'I was looking for my teeth! Get me out of here!'" Lifsey recalled.
The fire department said it was unlikely Lifsey would find her false teeth. But it could have been worse, Keene said. The incinerator could have been burning.