Woman rescued after getting stuck between 2 walls
Firefighters rescued a woman Wednesday morning four hours after she somehow got wedged between two buildings at 12th and Columbia in downtown Portland.
The incident began about 3:45 a.m. Wednesday, when a woman was seen crawling along a second-story ledge. Then she fell about 12 feet and became wedged between the Gretchen Kafoury Commons building and the outer wall of a parking garage.
It took nearly 4 hours to get her out, through an opening that firefighters managed to cut in the wall.
When she finally got out, the woman hollered "Oh my God!" smiled and clutched her fist. She woman was taken to Oregon Health and Science University where she was listed in fair condition.
Lt. Rich Chatman, who spoke directly with the victim as she neared freedom, said she was cold "and she wanted to get out" but was otherwise in good spirits. "A real trooper," Chatman said. She was stuck dangling in a space only about eight inches wide.
"We just assured her that we were doing everything that we could to get her out and we were going to get her out as soon as possible," he said, "We weren’t going home without her."
One witness who called 911 said she was yelling for help until firefighters arrived.
The rescuers first tried to use ropes to get her out, then decided to cut through the wall of the parking garage to free her.
The woman was alert, agitated but did not appear to be seriously injured. She was talking with rescue crews as they sawed through concrete blocks for several hours.
About 6:15 a.m., firefighters had managed to start removing sections of the wall. The woman's husband was also brought to the scene to help calm her. He gave her a kiss once her face was showing through the area broken out by rescuers.
Damon Simmons, with the Portland Fire Bureau, said the firefighters had been specially trained in urban earthquake rescues, including the use of saws to free victims.
An air bag was deployed in hopes of expanding the space between the wall. Soapy water was also applied, Simmons said. A propane heater and flexible pipe also used to keep her warm.