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Crews Rescue 5-Year-Old Colorado Boy from Hole

BOULDER, Colo. -- Boulder rescue crews worked for 30 minutes to free a 5-year-old boy from a 3.5-foot-deep hole at a neighborhood park Thursday evening.

Officials first received a call at around 7 p.m. of a child stuck in a hole at a small park at Red Oak Park, an affordable housing complex at 3025 Littleleaf Lane.

Rescuers found the boy in a hole about 3.5 feet deep and about a foot in diameter, said Boulder police officer Ronald Perea, who was one of the first officials on scene. According to the boy's mother, several children had been jumping in and out of the hole, but when her son tried, he became trapped. Rescuers said he landed with his ankles crossed below and behind him, and his knees buckled under him, making it hard to pull him straight out.

Rescue workers from the Boulder Fire Department used shovels to dig him free and used a bottomed-out 5-gallon bucket to keep dirt from getting in his face while they were working.

About 30 minutes later, the boy was removed from the hole to cheers from the crowd that had gathered at the scene, cold and frightened but otherwise uninjured. He was taken to Boulder Community Hospital as a precaution. Crews also brought a backhoe to the scene but did not need to use it to rescue the child.

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A victim's advocate from the Boulder Police Department was on hand to talk with the boy, and a lieutenant held his hand to keep him calm during the ordeal.

"He was scared. None of us want to be in that situation," Perea said. "But he's a good kid, and he's going to be fine."

Officials did not release the name of the boy.

It was not immediately clear why there was a hole in the ground of the neighborhood park in the housing complex. Red Oak Park, which was completed last year, was a $13 million project of Boulder Housing Partners to replace a former mobile home park with 59 permanently affordable homes.

Tim Beal, director of property for Boulder Housing Partners, said the hole would be filled and officials would look into why it was there.

"Our first concern is the child," Beal said. "The next step is investigating and trying to understand what transpired here today."



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