A woman and her dog are safe after falling into a large hole in Southeast Portland on Tuesday night.
Firefighters said the woman's puppy, a Newfoundland, was in the backyard of a home near Southeast 38th Avenue and Clinton Street.
The woman apparently went to go look for the dog and accidentally fell into a hole in the yard. She couldn't get out.
The hole was about 20 feet deep and about 3 to 4 feet in diameter, firefighters said.
Jason Masarik, lives three doors down and had just gotten home from work when he heard a strange sound.
"At first I thought maybe it was a dog barking and then I thought it was cats fighting. But after a while it started to sound like someone screaming for help," said Masarik, who quickly rushed to find out where it was coming from.
As he got near the home, the screams got louder and that's when he peaked over the fence.
"I said 'is someone yelling for help?' and that's when I heard her say 'Help me, I'm down in a hole,'" added Masarik.
Fire crews arrived and lowered a rope down to the woman so they could pull her dog up to safety, firefighters said. A ladder was lowered down to the woman so that she could get out.
The woman and her dog were not seriously hurt, firefighters said.
"To find out that somebody fell down a hole was kind of nerve-racking because we walk down here a lot. So it was just kind of surprising," said Wyatt Piro, who lives in the area.
The Bureau of Development Services came out to assess the damage and determine the hole was an old cesspool that was likely there for decades, but had not been properly filled.
The homeowner said there was some sewer work done in the yard that might have led to the ground opening up.
Firefighters did find some bricks at the bottom of the hole, they said.
Fire officials said the woman was very lucky that pieces of a nearby retaining wall did not fall into the hole on top of her.
Firefighters brought in some pieces of wood to temporarily cover the hole.
If you're concerned about a cesspool opening up on your property, the Bureau of Development Services has information on what to look for at www.portlandoregon.gov/bds
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