Douglass Township woman trapped in house, in several feet of sewage -- for 3 days
Rescue workers said they have never experienced anything like it before: a woman trapped in her basement under several feet of sewage.
Friends say Roselyn Willis had gone into her basement to check the circuit breaker when the stairs collapsed.
Tia Quarles, a good friend of Willis, said she hadn't heard from Willis in days.
"I was just praying. I was like --what is going on with Roz," Quarles said. "I just kept praying. And I said well, Lord, if she doesn’t answer me today, I'm going over there."
When Quarles went over to Willis' home in the 800 block of Douglass Drive in Douglass Twp., she found her friend trapped in the basement.
"And that's when she told me she was stranded in the basement since Sunday," Quarles said.
Willis was trapped in four feet of what officials describe as water, heating oil and sewage, officials said.
"The house is structurally not sound, and with the stairwell collapsing and the partial collapse of the first floor into the basement, it made it difficult," said Assistant Chief Art Heist, Amity Fire Company.
Officials said it is likely the sump pump in the home stopped working due to a loss of electricity, and as a result, the basement flooded.
"The groundwater is very permeable just from the exterior. It leaks in," said Chief Mike Zomolsky, Amity Fire Company.
Authorities say during the nearly four-hour rescue they used a 4:1 haul system to hoist Willis out of the basement.
Later she was hosed down for decontamination.
Now many are glad Quarels went looking for her friend.
"She's a really dear friend and I don't want to lose her out of my life. You know what I mean? So I was glad to come over and save her life," Quarles said.
Water samples are being tested to find out exactly what Willis was trapped in for three days, fire officials said.
Rescue workers confirmed that Willis was taken to The Reading Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
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