LANSING, N.Y. — A busy intersection in Lansing became the hub of a community effort on Thursday to help the first responders tasked with rescuing 17 miners at the Cargill Salt Mine.
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The Lansing Market, Crossroads Bar & Grille, Dunkin’ Donuts: Nearly all the businesses at the North Triphammer Road intersection were sending or making plans to send food to people responding to the miners trapped on an elevator 900-feet below ground.
The store manager at the Lansing Market, Sandro Mironti, was getting ready to drive into town from Cortland when he heard the news of the trapped workers at the mine on TV.
“We have a very close knit group of miners here,” he said, adding that workers went to the local grocery chain all week for sandwiches and coffee.
“It’s frightening. It’s very frightening,” he said. “More than likely it’s people that we know.”
Officials said at a news conference that 17 male workers — including miners, electricians and maintenance personnel — were rescued after being trapped down a mine shaft for around 10 hours. They were stuck in a two-level elevator while temperatures hovered just below 20 degrees.
As Mironti made the twenty minute drive to work, he got three phone calls:
Two managers called him, coordinating to make sure they’d be able provide food and coffee to the crews at the scene. The store eventually sent workers about 48 pieces of breakfast pizza, two dozen breakfast sandwiches and three pots worth of coffee.
But the first call he received was from the store’s meat manager — Bill Canino.
Bill Canino grew up in Lansing. His family and friends from high school work at the Cargill Salt Mine.
He said he found out about the trapped workers just after 4 a.m.while he was watching the news and getting ready for work.
“The people are in our community. We know them,” Canino said.
At work, the entire store was kept up to date about news at the mine. A local radio station, which always plays at the store, was providing updates throughout the morning.
First Canino heard that four people had been rescued, that a crane with a basket was being used to pull them out of the mine.
Around 8 a.m., as workers were just beginning to be rescued, he got a call from his wife.
His cousin, she read on Facebook, was among the 17 men stuck in the shaft.
But he said he didn’t have time to worry get too worried. By then, miners were being pulled out of the shaft.
He hasn’t spoken with his family yet, but said he’s glad the market was able to help — even in just a small way.
And if a sip of coffee or a bit of a hot sandwich helped keep the workers’ strength up?
“That’d be the absolute best feeling in the world,” he said.
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