Girl survives 14-story fall

August 1, 2008 3:43:40 PM PDT
A 2-foot-thick pile of soot and dust may have saved the life of a girl who fell 180 feet down a chimney at an artists' colony in Manhattan's West Village.Fire Department Chief Austin Horan says the 12-year-old emerged "relatively unscathed" from her harrowing fall Thursday night at the Westbeth building on Bethune Street. She was conscious when firefighters found her at the chimney's base in a boiler room.

Lt. Simon Ressner says rescuers hadn't expected to find the victim alive, and they were stunned when she reached her hand out for help.

Firefighters say the sooty pile helped cushion her fall.

The girl apparently climbed into the chimney while playing on the roof.

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