HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (WCBS/NYPD/CNN) – A 3-year-old New Jersey girl is rescued after falling into a 15-foot septic tank hole.
The girl's family is calling the neighbor who rescued her a hero.
"I feel so happy that I saved her life," neighbor and hero Luz Jimenez said.
The girl, much like the fictional character Alice, tumbled into a deep hole – but it was no wonderland for Allison Machigua.
She was 15 feet down, where a septic tank used to be, in cold muddy water.
"For the baby, it was here [pointing to her chin], it was right close to her mouth, she was screaming crying – we couldn't see her when she were up here," Jimenez said.
Jimenez was next door and heard Allison's screams after the girl wandered into the backyard.
While the hold is now secured with plywood topped with two tires, at the time there was only a layer of grass. The grass gave way under the tiny girl.
As Jimenez kicked off her shoes and started to go in after the child, a police officer arrived.
"He was trying to stop me, I said, ‘no, you are not going to stop me – just move away,'" Jimenez said.
She went down and after about 15 minutes with the girl in the muck, police send down a ladder.
"She's very tiny, so I held her with one hand and used the other hand to step up and get outside," Jimenez said.
Allison's mom Marlen Machigua thanked God her child escaped without so much as a scratch or bruise. She calls Jimenez an angel.
"We know God put her there for us, for our family," Machigua said.
This was an accident waiting to happen and there are other secret septic tanks out there that need to be found. Homeowners are responsible for knowing where old septic tanks are. Plumbers can follow the old lines to locate them.
For the forseeable future, Allison's play times will be indoors, and she seems to be fine with that.
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