The powerline collapsed on a car in Portland during a winter storm on Wednesday
An Oregon teen has been hailed a hero for rescuing a baby after 3 people were killed by a collapsed powerline that landed on a car during a winter storm in Portland on Wednesday.
Speaking during a news conference on Thursday, Majiah Washington, 18, relived the moment she rescued the 9-month-old baby boy after seeing the child's mother, father and 15-year-old uncle all killed in the incident.
According to NBC News, the teen noticed a flash outside her home and upon opening her blinds saw a red SUV with a downed powerline on top of it and a couple who had been putting their baby into the vehicle.
Washington said the father grabbed the baby and tried to make his way up the icy driveway, but he slipped backward and his foot touched the live wire. According to Washington, per the Associated Press, the mother, who was six months pregnant, then tried to reach the baby but also slipped and was electrocuted, along with her 15-year-old brother who tried to help.
“I crouched down, I like kind of slid, I used my hands to break my fall, and I didn’t land on top of his father but my hands landed on top of him and I just grabbed the baby,” said Washington during the news conference, which was shared by NBC News. “I pulled him up, I was swaddling him and I walked him up the hill.”
Per the outlet, the teen said that even though she touched the father’s body, she wasn’t shocked by the live wire.
She went on to explain that she was on the phone with a dispatcher when she saw the baby’s head move and decided to try and rescue him.
“He was laying on his chest to the side, and I just saw him move his head,” revealed Washington, who said she recognized the baby’s mother as her neighbor’s daughter. “I just thought, I have a nephew myself, I have little brothers, I would want somebody to do the same thing, I would hope somebody would do the same thing. I’m just thinking that this is something, if you see a baby, who’s not going to go save a baby? But I guess everybody doesn’t think about it like that.”
“I was concerned about the baby,” she added. “Nobody was with the baby.”
According to a news release from the the Portland Fire & Rescue Department, the baby was "found to be unaffected by the situation" and was transported to a local hospital.
A spokesman for the department, Rick Graves, praised Washington for her actions and said he didn’t understand how she and the baby weren’t also electrocuted, per Sky News.
“We do have fortunately with us a toddler that is going to be able to thrive and do what they possibly can as they move forward,” Graves said. “And they are here, in part, because of the heroic acts of a member of our community.”
On Wednesday, the Portland Fire & Rescue Department was dispatched "near the intersection of NE 122 and NE Siskiyou in the Russel Neighborhood" shortly before 11:45 a.m. due to a "possible car fire,” the release read.
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The department said that on their way to the scene, they received information from the dispatch center stating there were "reports of a person on fire in the street, a power line down in the street, unsure if the person is electrocuted, victim still down in the street, another hysterical caller on this says 4 patients here including a baby with someone on fire, three people laying in the street unconscious."
Once they arrived, they found three individuals "located approximately 35' away from a full-size SUV with a powerline draped over the vehicle with a large tree branch over the top of the powerline resting on the hood of the SUV."
They were identified as "two adults and a reported teen" who were confirmed dead at the scene.
"The individuals affected were occupants of the SUV and exited the vehicle following the branch bringing the live powerline down upon their vehicle. When the feet of the individuals touched the ground, and their bodies were touching the car they became part of the active electrical circuit which resulted in their deaths," the release continued.
Washington’s neighbor, Ronald Briggs, told AP that his 21-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son had been killed in the incident.
According to NBC News, he also told Portland television station KGW that his daughter had come over to use the internet after hers went out. After watching his daughter and her boyfriend slide to their deaths, he told his 15-year-old son, Ta’Ron Briggs, to keep his distance.
“I told him, ‘Don’t go down there — try to get away from them.’ And he slid, and he touched the water, and he, and he died too,” Briggs told KGW. “I have six kids. I lost two of them in one day.”
“It just hurt,” he added. “Being a good father cannot solve this right now.”
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