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Boy, 13, locked 9 hours in Philly school stairwell

December 16, 2011
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PHILADELPHIA—A 13-year-old boy says he spent more than nine cold, hungry and lonely hours trapped in a stairwell at a Philadelphia school.

Seventh-grader David Fields says he was looking for a new way out of Roosevelt Middle School on Thursday afternoon but ended up locked inside an emergency exit tower when a door closed behind him.

Janitorial staff apparently didn't hear his cries for help. His mother, Angela Johnson, says workers wouldn't allow family members to look for him after he didn't come home.

Relatives say they heard David's screams when they returned with school police around 12:10 a.m. Friday. David was freed about 20 minutes later.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard (gy-YARD') says the emergency exit tower is supposed to be unlocked until a final nightly inspection.

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