Sacto 9-1-1
March 27, 2012
Update: Woman hospitalized, man in police custody after rescue at water treatment plant

One person has been taken to the hospital and another is in police custody after they entered a Sacramento water treatment plant and became trapped.

Assistant Chief Niko King of the Sacramento Fire Department said firefighters were called to the Fairbairn Water Treatment Plant on the American River at 8:08 p.m., after a passerby on the levee reported hearing someone yelling near the plant's pumphouse. Firefigters initially thought someone was in the river and were preparing for a water rescue. They discovered, however, that the cries were coming from inside the five- or six-story concrete building, which sits in the river and is accessed from the levee via a footbridge.

Inside, firefighters found a man and woman, who appeared to be in their late 20s or early 30s. King said he did not know how the two, who were not authorized to be on the property, entered the site. They told firefighters that they had walked down several stories when the woman accidentally fell into a pool of water. The man jumped in to try to help her climb out.

King said the water was deep enough that they could not touch bottom. Using some type of hand hold, the man was able to pull himself out. But King said the woman appeared to be in an impaired state and was unable to climb out, although she was able to tread water. The man kept going back into the pool trying to get her out.

King said firefighters got to her just in the nick of time. She was rescued at 8:58 p.m. and the man was brought out about 20 minutes later.

The woman, who appeared to be suffering from hypothermia, was transported to a hospital. King said the man was turned over to Sacramento police.

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