JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Two children are recovering after being trapped for hours beneath a one-ton pile of household laundry, police reported. The incident occurred late Monday afternoon at the home of Jacob and Sherry Kestenbaum. The two boys, ages 3 and 6, were attempting to summit the twelve-foot peak – nicknamed “Mt. Laundrymore” by the neighbors – when a lower strata of laundry towels suddenly shifted, causing a collapse of the entire eastern wall of boys’ underwear. The children, whose names were not released, were buried beneath a wave of unlaundered fabric. As doctors would later confirm, both boys were uninjured in the collapse, but faced serious risk of asphyxiation – a fear compounded by the heightened stench of the unlaundered items. The boys were fortunate in one regard: though trapped by pounds and pounds of soiled garments, a jeans pocket full of old Cheetos was just within arms reach. The boys were able to fend off starvation with these cheesy, life-giving morsels.
Mrs. Kestenbaum, who was in the kitchen during the incident, reported hearing a muffled cry, but paid no attention. “I was in the kitchen, whipping up some Mac’n’Cheese, when I felt the ground shake. I thought that my husband was playing video games again, so I just ignored it. I had no idea that my children were fighting for their lives just feet away.”
After several hours, and no sign of the children, the parents began to worry. “We began to worry,” said Mr. Kestenbaum. “Usually the kids are whining for a snack every thirty minutes. When they didn’t show up, we knew something was wrong.” It was Mr. Kestenbaum who noticed the situation, and alerted authorities. “Mt. Laundrymore is kind of a constant presence in the home… a few towels taken off the sides, some jeans and shirts thrown on each day. It all looks the same. But today, the mountain looked .. different.” That’s when he spotted one of the boys’ shoes sticking out from inside some skid-marked tighty-whities.
He immediately called authorities, who sent a search and rescue team. After several hours of digging, the two boys were safely removed from the pile. They were unharmed, but badly shaken.
“They’re lucky to be alive,” said one first responder. “A few more hours and they would have succumbed to the rank odor.”
For their part, the Kestenbaum’s are thankful to have their boys safely in arm’s reach. “We can’t let this happen again,” Mr. Kestenbaum said in a statement to the press. “We’ve erected a safety barrier and warning signs around the perimeter of the laundry pile. We hope no one else has to suffer like we’ve suffered.”