Repeated attempts to lend a hand at a hectic accident scene in the San Fernando Valley went south last night, City News Service reports.
After a big white Chevy SUV lost control while trying to make a turn at Magnolia Boulevard around 8:25 p.m. -- knocking over a street lamp, downing power lines, shearing off a fire hydrant and landing on someone's front lawn in the Valley Village neighborhood -- witnesses rushed to assist its occupants. Unfortunately, though, electrical currents had begun rippling through the hydrant puddle...
... killing two female Good Samaritans that passed through it. And, according to reports, as many as five more people who attempted to help those women were "hospitalized with serious burns" after inadvertently stepping in the deadly puddle or touching someone who had.
Irma Zamora, a 40-year-old Burbank resident, has been identified as one of the women electrocuted to death at the crash scene.
"I heard the skid of a car...at least three seconds long, and then a very loud boom," witness James Pike tells NBC4. "I run outside and across the street I see two women laying on the sidewalk. I see two or three young gentlemen keep trying to rescue them and pull them to safety and each time they would try to pull them they were getting shocked."
This morning, the Department of Water and Power was quick to issue a list of precautions to take in the presence of a downed water line -- including "don't touch anyone in contact with a power source" and...
"... if standing water is present, stay in your car and wait for help. If you must get out, make sure you do not touch the metal parts of the car and the ground at the same time. The safest exit method is to open the door, stand on the door sill and jump free without touching the car."
L.A. City Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott called last night's SUV crash and Good Samaritan pileup a "a tragic, tragic accident," in which "we have many people with good intentions trying to save people and two of them died as a result."
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"It was a mess," nearby resident Jackie Montgomery tells the Los Angeles Times.
Montgomery praises Valley Village community members for being so willing to help each other, despite the fatal consequences -- and ultimately blames the SUV driver, who she says was speeding, for allowing the crash to occur. Also the city, for not putting in stop signs.
About an hour ago, a Twitter user named Brittany Aguilar wrote: "R.I.P my beautiful Aunt/Godmother Irma Zamora January 9, 1972-August 22, 2012."