Savage girl, 6, rescued after falling into dry well

February 01, 1993|By Scott Shane | Scott Shane,Staff Writer

A 6-year-old Savage girl was rescued by firefighters yesterday afternoon after tumbling 25 feet to the bottom of a dry well, escaping with a fractured arm and cuts and bruises.

Firefighter Andrew Lester, who descended by rope to save Jessica Goins, said he consoled the terrified girl by singing "the Barney song," popular with young fans of the television dinosaur, as he strapped her to an immobilizing board for the trip to the surface.

"She was very upset," said Mr. Lester, who learned the song from a 4-year-old niece. "But she started singing along. She even sang some more songs that I didn't know."

Jessica was taken by ambulance to Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospital for treatment of a fractured left wrist and less serious injuries, said Lt. Michael Gearhart, spokesman for Howard County Fire and Rescue Services. She was accompanied by her mother, Jennifer Goins, he said.

At 8 p.m. yesterday, Jessica was transferred to the Children's Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, where a spokeswoman said she was in fair condition and was expected to remain overnight for observation.

Jessica was playing with friends near her home in the Eve Mar mobile home park on Gorman Road about 3 p.m. when she stepped on boards covering the old stone well, firefighters said. The well stood beside the foundation of a house that burned down about a decade ago, they said.

When the dry-rotted boards gave way and Jessica disappeared, her friends called for help, and neighbors called 911. Units from Savage, Rivers Park and Long Reach fire stations responded, reaching the scene about 10 minutes after Jessica fell, Lieutenant Gearhart said.

Firefighters tore off the rotted cover, set up a 12-foot metal tripod over the 40-inch-diameter hole and used instruments to measure the oxygen in the bottom of the well, which turned out to be adequate. When they called to Jessica, she answered.

Mr. Lester, 24, was lowered quickly to her in a harness. He strapped her to the board because medical personnel feared she might have suffered a spinal injury.

"She told me she wanted to be with her mother," Mr. Lester said.

Jessica was pulled to the surface, where her mother was waiting, about 50 minutes after firefighters reached the scene.

Firefighters covered the well with new plywood and reported the hazard to the Howard County Department of Public Works, which is expected to make permanent repairs today, Lieutenant Gearhart said.

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