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Child Injured in Fall from Tacoma Dome Bleachers

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King 5: A toddler was injured in what officials are calling a "freak accident" when she fell through bleachers at the Tacoma Dome.

The 17-month old girl fell 20 to 30 feet onto concrete during the state high school wrestling championships Saturday afternoon, said Tacoma Fire spokesperson Jolene Davis.

A Fife High School senior was sitting nearby and said he heard the mother's reaction.

"It was like an earth-shattering scream," said Dominic Pishny. "It was like, really scary, and everybody just stood up and turned around."

Added Pishny: "People came up tried to calm her down, see what was going on, and she was just spazzing out, couldn't stay still, didn't know what to do and screaming really loud over and over."

City officials say amazing, medics found the child conscious, crying and moving, behind the bleachers.

"We're still trying to piece together how this took place," said Tacoma spokesman Rob McNair-Huff. "The Tacoma Dome has been in this same kind of configuration for more than 25 years, and nothing like this has ever happened before."

The city runs the Tacoma Dome, and McNair-Huff said investigators will be talking to witnesses and trying to figure out what they can do -- even reconfiguring seats -- to make sure such an incident doesn't happen again.

"What the Tacoma Dome staff did immediately is [they] went through the rest of the facility, looked at any similar place where there may be a gap, and taped those areas off," including the gap in aisle 5 where the child fell through, said McNair-Huff.

The child was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, which has not released an official condition. However, those attending the wrestling tournament tell KING-5 a man made an announcement over the loudspeaker later in the evening, saying he "just wanted let everyone know the baby was all right," said Pishny.

The girl's fall was just one of three incidents firefighters responded to at the tournament during a 12-minute span. One person was taken to the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma with some sort of illness, said McNair-Huff, who added that the third incident involved someone falling through a ceiling tile in a restricted area. No one was transported in that case.

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b February 25, 2010, 12:36 PM


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