Portland woman trapped between 2 buildings freed

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by ABC NEWS

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 5:45 PM

(ABC NEWS) -- Oregon firefighters have rescued a woman who was trapped between a very narrow space created by the outside walls of two buildings.

The unidentified woman fell between the parking garage of the Gretchen Kafoury Commons apartment building and the Joyce Furman building in Portland around 3:45 a.m. PST, firefighters told ABC News' Portland affiliate KATU.

Firefighters cut a door-size opening in one of the concrete walls and used lubricant to help her slide out from where she was stuck.

Relief cuts were made in the walls and airbags were wedged between the walls in an effort to spread the walls out as much as possible.

The woman's plaid shirt was cut off, leaving her with only a turquoise t-shirt. When she finally managed to squeeze out of the space, the woman looked relieved and pumped her arms in the air.

She hugged and kissed her husband and paramedics quickly took her away to be examined for injuries.

The woman was stuck in a space that is roughly one-foot wide. A team of firefighters worked to cut out portions of the concrete walls to free the woman.

The initial plan was to cut a doorway into the wall near her, Simmons said, but an excess of dust made it hard for her to breathe so rescuers had to reassess the plan.

Firefighters cut windows in the concrete on either side of the woman in order to blow heat since she is cold and give her blankets. They have also passed her cups of water through the hole. She is conscious and firefighters are talking to her to "keep her spirits up." They also brought her husband to talk her through the process.

"She is very, very uncomfortable, scared, agitated," Portland Fire Bureau spokesman Lt. Damon Simmons told KATU on the scene as firefighters worked to free her. "It's just really scary and uncomfortable, as you can imagine."

Dispatchers told KATU that someone called 911 at around 3:45 a.m. to report that a woman had fallen between the buildings. She was walking on the roof of the two-story building when she fell, according to KATU. The other building is 8 stories tall.

Neighbors told KATU they could hear the woman screaming for help.

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