Drama As Woman Gets Stuck Between Buildings

An Oregon woman has been rescued after she fell and became stuck in a narrow opening between two buildings.

Portland firefighters cut a hole through concrete and used an air bag and a soapy lubricant to free the woman, who spent about four hours in a space just eight to 10 inches wide.

TV news stations broadcast footage of the rescue operation and showed her emerging from the space raising her face, clenching her fists and shouting: "Oh, my God."

Firefighters said they had not been told how the woman, who has not been identified, got into her predicament.

Lieutenant Rich Chatman of the Portland fire department said she had been seen smoking or walking on the roof of a two-story building when she fell between 10 and 12 feet.

She was wedged about four feet above the ground before rescuers installed braces to support her.

Firefighters turned on a portable heater to keep her warm in the near-freezing temperatures while they dropped an air bag into the opening to create more space.

"She was in good spirits," Lt Chatman said. "We just tried to reassure her ... we weren't going home without her."

After rescuers cut a window-size opening in the wall, Lt Chatman climbed in to help apply the soapy substance. The woman then wiggled toward the hole as the rescue team pulled her towards them.

"It was so tight, it wasn't until the last foot that she could actually see me," he said. "She had that look in her eye that she was coming out no matter what."

The woman was taken to the Oregon Health and Science University hospital and appeared to be in good health, fire Lt Damon Simmons said.

The Urban Search and Rescue unit, who extricated her, train for situations such as building collapses, so they had a plan, Lt Simmons said.

"They're ready for when the big earthquake hits," he said.

In recent years members of the unit have dealt with people who have fallen into sinkholes, but it was the first time they had come across anyone stuck quiet like the wall woman, Lt Simmons added.