Cayden Leger’s parents awoke Thanksgiving morning to the terrified screams of their 2-year-old son. It sounded like he was inside the walls.
“I woke up to him screaming so, so loud,” said Melissa Pendlebury, Cayden’s mother. “Everybody was running around trying to figure out where he was.”
The boy, who only suffered minor injuries, slid down an old laundry chute on the second floor of the Manchester, N.H., home and got tangled in wires, Pendlebury said.
The home on Carpenter Street used to be an administrative building and the chute was used to run wires from the top floor to the basement, she said. The opening is only about 10 inches by 6 inches.
“We’ve lived here for 3½ years,” said Pendlebury, 34. “They’ve thrown a few toys down there.” But she never thought any of her four children would ever try to slide down the chute.
“Cayden is the most curious boy I’ve ever come across in my whole life,” she said. He is also the youngest in the family.
As their son continued screaming for help, the parents frantically searched for a way to get to him and called 911. Cayden’s father, Eric Leger, who is Pendlebury’s fiance, punched through a wall three times, breaking his wrist.
“We tried to comfort him, but he was just screaming bloody murder,” Pendlebury said.
Firefighters arrived quickly and rushed to the basement, she said. They cut the wires cradling the toddler and pulled him out slowly.
“They were phenomenal,” Pendlebury said. “They kept us calm, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
The young boy has rashes and burns on his head, nose, and upper lip, Pendlebury said.
He was taken by ambulance to Elliot Hospital, where his father was also treated.
The family returned home by late morning and celebrated Thanksgiving in an unconventional way, with Chinese food and movies. Pendlebury said she was able to find some quiet time with her family and that things are settling down.
“Cayden is back to his normal getting-into-trouble, devilish self, and his dad is suffering and relaxing on the couch,” Pendlebury said. “I’m trying to get my house back together.”
Pendlebury said the frightening incident has made her especially grateful.
“I’m thankful that it was only a few scrapes and bruises and a fractured wrist,” she said. “We can deal with that.”
And curious little Cayden will not be taking any more tumbles down the chute.
“It was screwed shut before we even came home from the hospital,” she said. “He can’t open it anymore.”Melissa Werthmann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.