Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Smoking Woman Falls, Gets Stuck Between Two Buildings

The unidentified woman still stuck as she is rescued.

The unidentified woman still stuck as she is rescued.

An unidentified woman in Portland, Ore., was discovered early on January 16, 2013, stuck between two buildings when her screams for help alerted one of the residents. Joseph Ryan told reporters that he “heard her voice: help me, help me, help me, I’m slipping.” He added “I thought she was being attacked, … the terror in her voice — I’ve never heard anything like that before.”

Rescuers said that she was seen “walking” and “smoking” on the rooftop of the two-story building at around 3:45 a.m. when she fell straight down into an 8-to-ten-inch-wide space between two buildings and got stuck there at the parking garage level. Firefighters reportedly gave the woman a blanket to protect her from dust and debris as they used saws and jackhammers to cut a square hole into the wall of one building from the parking garage, braced the hole with wood, secured the woman with straps, so she would not fall further and, using soap, slowly worked her loose. She emerged about four hours after she fell and was rushed to a nearby hospital where she asked not to be identified.

In a similarly dramatic fall in September 2012, Maria Pestrikoff of Kodiak, Alaska, was texting and smoking while walking along a cliff, when she tried to flick her cigarette butt off the edge of the cliff and fell 60 feet onto rocks just 10 feet above the incoming tide. Firefighters won the battle against time and loaded her into a stretcher and pulled her back up the cliff before the tide came in. Her friend, Anthony Burke, who alerted responders to her predicament when he heard her screams, later wrote, “Lesson learned — don’t leave the gate open, don’t text message and smoke cigarettes on a slippery bluff with a long drop to the rocks.”

Words to live by.

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