Stephen Ellison

Cement Worker Rescued From Union City Silo Details Incident, Recovery

A man who had to be rescued from a cement silo in Union City last week spoke about the incident Tuesday, saying it was like "an out-of-body experience."

Joel Canela has been out of the hospital for two days and has had time to digest the terrifying experience Thursday at U.S. Pipe and Foundry, where he became lodged in drying cement inside a silo. It took firefighters more than two hours to rescue him.

Canela said co-workers kept him calm, and he’s grateful firefighters were able to get him out in time.

"I was checking the level of cement, and I missed my footing and fell down," Canela said. "It started shaking; it felt like quick sand."

And it was up to his chest.

"I had my eyes closed all the time, just kept me calm, just thinking positive,' Canela said.

Those thoughts paid off when after two hours of careful maneuvering, he was finally freed from from the silo.

He suffered rope burns on his hands and chemical burns on his leg. And he struggles a little to speak because cement particles are still in his lungs.

"I feel like I can work right now," he said.

The bandages on Canela's hands and leg would say otherwise.

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