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USPP Officers Rescue Girl From Collapsed Tent

National Mall

National Park News

When a severe thunderstorm struck the DC area on the afternoon of June 16th, K-9 officer Jeffrey Bartlett, who was on patrol in the area, immediately recognized the danger it presented to visitors who were standing in and around a series of tents set up on the Mall for the upcoming National Folklife Festival. He radioed for additional units to help clear the area near the tents.  Sergeant Carl Holmberg, also in the area, responded and saw that the tents were rocking from the rain and wind. He noted that one tent had at least 40 people inside. As he was directing them to the Smithsonian museums for safety, the tent collapsed. Holmberg determined that the visitors were part of a tour group and located the group leader. He instructed her to make a head count and she reported that one young girl was missing. Detective Patrick Fouty and officers Catherine Mulhall and Allan Stone also responded. The girl  was heard screaming from within the wreckage of the collapsed tent. Holmberg employed a knife to cut the tent open and found the 11-year-old girl trapped in the wreckage. She was suffering from head injuries and trapped by two support beams.  Working in conjunction with several bystanders, the officers were able to lift one of the beams while other officers used smaller poles to gain enough leverage to lift the other beam. Fouty was then able to pull the girl from the collapsed tent. She was taken into a nearby museum, where first aid was administered while waiting for EMS to arrive. Bartlett recognized that more storms were possible, so he directed the Smithsonian museums to close all exits onto the Mall and the Smithsonian Metro station to stop riders from exiting onto the Mall until the area was made safe. A total of 10 visitors reported injuries. They include three adults and seven juveniles.  All reported injured persons were transported to area hospitals for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.


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