Firefighters use Jaws of Life to free woman's leg from Hazelwood sewer grate

PITTSBURGH — Firefighters brought out the Jaws of Life Tuesday to free a woman whose leg got stuck in a sewer grate in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood.

Cellphone video and photos showed that Patrice Church’s leg became stuck knee-deep after she fell through a sewer grate at the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Second Avenue.

“You couldn't get my leg out of it. I was in there. I wasn't coming out. I stepped on it, (and) all my body weight went straight through. I was jammed,” Church said.%



Church told Channel 11 News that she was talking on her phone and walking to meet a friend for coffee Tuesday morning when she stepped on the grate.

“I wasn't expecting to fall through it. I just thought I was stepping over it and cleared it enough. Obviously, I didn't,” she said.

Church’s phone fell out of reach. William Satterwhite, who was working nearby, saw what happened and called 911.

“I was working on the steps over here, and I heard somebody screaming, ‘Help,’” he said.

Church said she suffered some cuts and bruises and is walking with a limp, but has no broken bones.

She said, ironically, she had called Pittsburgh’s 311 tip line a half-dozen times over the last year, complaining about the sewer drain she fell through and another one on Glenwood Avenue that has a much bigger opening.

“I'm angry. I'm angry with the city. I'm angry with the water company,” she said.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority told Channel 11 News that they were not aware of any issues with the catch basin grate, but said they are now scouting the site to make the necessary repairs.

A city spokeswoman also said the city had no record of a complaint about the grates.