Woman rescued after being stuck between 2 buildings

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by Michael Rollins

KMOV.com

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 16 at 11:42 AM

PORTLAND -- Portland Fire Bureau firefighters rescued a woman Wednesday morning who somehow got wedged between two buildings at 12th and Columbia in downtown Portland.

The incident began about 3:30 a.m. when a woman was seen on a second-story area, a witness told KGW and ended about 7:30 a.m. when she was pulled through an opening cut in a wall.

The Portland Fire Bureau identified her as Anita Mann, 30.

Lt. Rich Chapman, who spoke directly with Mann as she neared freedom, said she was cold "and she wanted to get out" but was otherwise in good spirits. "A real trooper," Chapman said.

Mann was yelling for help and was seen climbing on a wall before apparently falling between the two buildings, said the witness, who also called 911. Mann continued to yell after she fell.

Her loud behavior was out of the ordinary for the types of tenants in the building, the witness said, and described her mannerisms prior to the fall as "rude." It was unclear where she lives and why she was yelling for help.

She had somehow fallen about 12 feet into a tight space at the Gretchen Kafoury Commons and an adjacent building to the east.

Firefighters first tried a rope rescue, then decided to cut through the wall of a parking garage to free her.

Mann was alert, agitated but did not appear to be seriously injured. She was talking with rescue crews as they sawed through concrete block walls for several hours.

About 6:15, firefighters had managed to start removing sections of the wall. Mann's husband was also brought to the scene to help calm her.

Fire bureau spokesman Damon Simmons said the firefighters have been specially trained in urban earthquakes 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, he said. A propane heater and flexible pipe also was used to keep her warm.

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