PORTLAND -- City inspectors say it was a collapsed cesspool that a Southeast Portland woman fell into in her backyard Tuesday night.
The Bureau of Development Services says homes on the eastside from the 1920s were often built with 15 to 20 feet deep sewer holes. Officials said this one was never filled in, or decommissioned, before the woman fell in.
It was the woman's 12-week-old Newfoundland puppy that first fell in the hole at her home near Southeast 38th Avenue and Southeast Clinton Street.
The 33-year-old doctor went out in the yard to find him and then she fell in.
Her neighbor, who had just come home from work and heard her cries for help. He went into the backyard, found her stuck in the ground and called 911.
Photos: Sinkhole behind Portland home
"Hello, I have an emergency," Jason Masarik told a 911 dispatcher. "My neighbor is stuck down in a hole in her backyard. I think she was saying it's probably 15 to 20 feet, maybe."
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, was down in waist deep water for about ten minutes before she was found by Masarik.
Firefighters used a rope to get the puppy out of the hole and then used a ladder for the woman to climb out with. She told NewsChannel 8 she has some bruises, but no major injuries.
Recent sewer work had just been signed off by the city in the last two weeks, but the nearly century-old cesspool somehow opened up with all the extra water from recent rains.
Neighbors said they're now checking their own yards. "Having three children, I'm definitely going to be watching for that when they're running around here so if anything happens we can help them," said neighbor Kassandra Kerksey.
The hole was covered over with boards but development services inspectors say, it's the property owner's financial responsibility to get old cesspools filled in and made safe.
If you think your property might have an abandoned septic system, you can get information here.