BRINNON, Wash. (WXIN) – It wasn’t the usual mountain rescue for first responders in Washington’s Olympic National Forest.
Instead of rescuing a hiker stranded at the top of a mountain, they came to the aid of a woman stuck inside an outdoor toilet.
According to a public Facebook post by the Brinnon Fire Department, the woman was using the facilities at the Mt. Walker vista point on Tuesday when she dropped her cell phone into the underground container below a vault toilet.
A vault toilet, typically found at campgrounds and near hiking trails, is waterless and non-flushing.
The woman first tried to get the phone out by taking the toilet seat and housing apart and using her dog’s leash to “fish” the phone out.
Crews said she used the dog’s leash to support herself when she fell headfirst into the toilet.
After attempting for 15-20 minutes to get herself out of the container, the woman could get her hands on her phone and call 911.
The Brinnon and Quilcene fire departments responded and made a makeshift cribbing platform tall enough for the woman to stand on and pulled her to safety.
According to the Brinnon Fire Department, the woman was washed down and given a Tyvek suit — personal protective equipment in the style of a coverall — to wear. She did not wish to be taken to the hospital.
Crews urged her to seek medical attention after her exposure to human waste, but they said she only wanted to leave and continue on her way to California.
They said the woman was lucky not to have become ill due to the toxic gases or hurt from the fall.