The woman was outside to shovel her backyard when the awning collapsed and pinned her down

By Rachel DeSantis
February 24, 2021 11:00 AM
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Woman Rescued After Spending 10 Hours Trapped Beneath Snowy Awning in Freezing Backyard
Credit: Schuller Park Firefighters Local 5230/Facebook

An Illinois woman was rescued from her own backyard after she spent 10 hours trapped beneath a collapsed awning in the cold, authorities said.

Members of the Schiller Park Fire Department responded on Monday night to a report of a woman who'd been stuck outside underneath the awning since noon, or about 10 hours, the local department said in a statement.

The woman, who is in her 50s, was outside that afternoon shoveling snow in her backyard when the incident occurred, WLS-TV reported.

Schiller Park Fire Department Chief Michael Cesaretti told the outlet she was trying to call for help, but no one was able to hear her since her head was inside of the awning.

He said a family member eventually came home and called for help around 10:30 p.m.

Rescue crews were ultimately able to lift the awning and free the woman using struts, cribbing and a multi-force airbag system, the statement said. It took about 10 minutes, according to WGN-TV.

She was conscious throughout the rescue, and was able to speak with firefighters, WLS-TV reported.

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"Most of the snow was on top of the awning, and it did create a bit of a void space under the awning so she was able to still communicate," Cesaretti said.

The woman was reportedly taken to Lutheran General Hospital in stable condition, and firefighters said that Monday's relatively warm weather likely saved her life. Had the incident occurred last week, she may not have been as lucky.

"Not all collapses give warning," Cesaretti told WGN. "They could happen in an instant. For a safety message, be aware of what's over your head in these conditions."