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Girls saved from construction site

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Updated: January 4, 2013 6:16AM



Two girls playing in a deep excavation hole in their subdivision in Tinley Park were rescued and not seriously injured Sunday afternoon after a wall of mud caved in and buried them.

Nicole Salwierak, 11, and Sarah Miranda, 12, were playing in a foundation hole dug Saturday at 18307 White Oak when one of them touched the mud wall and it collapsed, covering the girls. Sarah was completely covered in the dirt, but Nicole’s head was above ground.

A pocket of air surrounded Sarah, so she could still breathe and talk to rescue workers, according to Nicole’s father, Robert Salwierak. Rescue workers told him it was a “perfect scenario” for the girls to be alive.

Nicole’s siblings, Robbie, 8, and Carli, 6, saw what happened and ran across the cul de sac to alert their mom, Sandra, who called 911. The two children were being called heroes for their quick action after the event.

It took rescue workers about a half hour to use their hands, shovels and poles to extract the girls from the mud, witnesses said. The girls were taken to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox after the incident for treatment, but they suffered no serious injuries, according to Assistant Fire Chief Steve Klotz of the Tinley Park Fire Department.

“It was a very good ending to a potentially tragic [situation],” he said.

Robert Salwierak, who wasn’t home when the incident occurred, said he felt like crying and his body was shaking when he was told about his daughters being buried in mud.

“My heart is still pounding pretty fast from all of this,” he said even after the girls were safe.

About 25 neighborhood kids were playing in the hole on Saturday, even though they were all warned to stay out of it, he added. Light rain Saturday night must have weakened the soil walls, making them prone to collapse when Nicole and Sarah entered the hole Sunday, Salwierak said.

“If it was more wet, it would have been much heavier,” he said of the mud that covered the girls.

The foundation hole was not protected by construction or safety fencing prior to the cave-in.



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