Sacto 9-1-1
March 28, 2012
Man arrested, woman sent to hospital after rescue from water tank at Sacramento treatment plant

Eric+Sleeman+21.jpgA man was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and a woman sent to the hospital after the pair were rescued by firefighters from a water holding unit at a city water treatment plant near Sacramento State.

The man was identified today by police as 21-year-old Eric Sleeman (pictured). He was arrested and then released from jail.

A warrant request for trespassing was submitted for the woman's arrest, according to a police activity log. She was not identified.

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. Tuesday, after a passerby on the levee reported hearing someone yelling near the plant's pumphouse.

Firefighters 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 Sleeman and the woman. Police said in the activity log that the two jumped perimeter fencing and made entry into the plant.

The couple later 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.

The police report said both were intoxicated.

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

The woman, who appeared to be suffering from hypothermia, was transported to a hospital.

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