Schiller Park woman trapped 10 hours after awning collapses under snow

"She was trying to call for help, but being her head was inside the awning, nobody was able to hear her."

Video Transcript

JOHN GARCIA: Firefighters worked quickly last night to try to prop up the backyard awning. Earlier in the day, it had collapsed onto a woman, trapping her for more than 10 hours. The woman, in her 50s, had gone out to shovel snow when the awning suddenly gave way under the weight of several feet of snow and ice.

MICHAEL CESARETTI: She was trying to call for help, but being her head was inside of the awning, nobody was able to hear her.

JOHN GARCIA: Firefighters demonstrate the struts and the inflatable bag they used to help lift the awning to free the woman. They say she remained conscious the entire time and was able to talk to firefighters, who entered the house and went to the back door. But because she was in the backyard and surrounded by snow and ice, she was unable to get anyone's attention until a family member arrived and called for help about 10:30.

MICHAEL CESARETTI: The crews, working with our police department, removed as much snow and ice as they can. We had our truck company use our stabilizers, which are going to stop a collapse from moving any more.

JOHN GARCIA: Paramedics transported the woman to Lutheran General Hospital in nearby Park Ridge in stable condition. But firefighters say the heavy snow and ice is causing awnings and roofs to collapse around the Chicago area, and they hope this incident will serve as a reminder of the danger.

MICHAEL CESARETTI: Some of the collapses don't give any warning when they go. They just collapse, so there may be no warning signs. So we're asking people just be aware what's over your head.

JOHN GARCIA: Firefighters say the warmer temperatures yesterday may have saved the woman from cold-related injuries, such as hypothermia. They say if this had happened a week earlier, the outcome might have been much different.