Watch CBS News

Only On 2: Toddler Expected To Recover After Falling Into Foul-Smelling Underground Storage Tank

LA PUENTE (CBSLA)  --  A toddler who fell into an underground storage tank Sunday afternoon in La Puente is recovering after undergoing surgery.

Neighbors said the 2-year-old boy was alert and crying when paramedics rushed him to the hospital.

The scary incident happened Sunday afternoon. CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Laurie Perez reported from the scene where the accident was on everyone's mind.

Behind a fence, a pile of boards and bricks covers an opening that leads into a deep well.

Neighbors aren't sure if the liquid inside the well is water, oil or something else.

The child's rescue was captured on cellphone video.

"Get a towel! Get a towel," someone is heard shouting.

The video captures the exact moment when the toddler was pulled from the storage tank.

The sound of the boy crying is clearly audible as is the cries of his mother and onlookers.

The mom is also heard thanking a neighbor who jumped in to pull the little boy out.

Boy Down Well
(credit: cellphone video)

Witnesses told Perez there was a picnic going on when the toddler disappeared. Panicked cries filled the neighborhood after people realized the boy had fallen down the hole.

The hole sits in an empty lot and neighbors told Perez it's been there for years.

Miguel Rocha grabbed a ladder and lowered it down the hole as his neighbor jumped in after the boy.

He called his neighbor a hero for acting without thought of his own safety.

"I seen it. He saved...the life of a baby," Rocha said.

Natalie Rizo said everyone in the neighborhood knows about the tank -- and as far as she knows it is always covered.

She was there when her neighbor and the toddler emerged, just as police and fire arrived to the scene.

In the cellphone video, the boy appears to be covered in what she described as slick and foul-smelling.

"He was wearing his clothes," Rizo said, "but he was like he looked like he was covered in something oily, like really glossy. The guy that jumped in he said that he had like his eyes were burning so he had sent to the hospital for that and the baby to get checked, too."

Neighbors say they have no idea how or why the little boy fell in -- and they say he's not from the neighborhood.

No one answered the door at the home that had the picnic, Perez reported.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.