In a dramatic scene caught on video, a dozen first responders were able to rescue a woman who was trapped underneath a collapsed awning on Monday night in suburban Schiller Park, and they’re sharing their stories of the harrowing incident.
According to Schiller Park Fire Chief Mike Cesaretti, the woman went out to clear snow from the back of her home at approximately noon when the awning collapsed, trapping her underneath.
The woman was trapped under the awning for 10 agonizing hours, with neighbors unable to hear her screams because of the snow and debris.
“She stated that she was calling for help, but nobody was able to hear her because of insulation of the snow, and she was at the back of her house,” Cesaretti said.
Finally, a family member returning to the home found her and called 911 at approximately 10:15 p.m.
“She was stuck by her leg,” Cesaretti said.
For more than 10 minutes, eight firefighters and four police officers worked to free the woman, using a myriad of equipment to lift the awning off of her.
“The whole time she was conscious and alert,” Cesaretti said. “We stabilized the back of the structure with the strut so we could lift up the (awning) high enough to remove her.
The woman is currently hospitalized due to her injuries, and while her neighbors are grateful that she is okay, they are frightened over what could have happened if the circumstances had been different.
“It’s just scary to think that happened to her and she was under there (for so long), but luckily she’s okay,” neighbor Jessica Melesio said.
“Luckily it didn’t’ happen last week while we were in sub-zero temperatures,” Cesaretti added. “It probably would have been a much worse outcome if the temps were that cold.”