LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa paid tribute to eight good Samaritans who suffered electric shocks as they ran to the scene of a traffic accident, including two women who were killed when they stepped into a pool of electrified water.
In a press conference Thursday, Villaraigosa and safety officials cautioned civilians who respond to accidents to assess their own safety before rushing to help others.
Downed electric lines may have been hard to see after an SUV hit a pole, a fire hydrant and a tree in front of a Valley Village-area home on Wednesday night.
"It may have been that because of how dark it was, the tree, the car, how it happened, these individuals may not have even known there was a downed power line," said Villaraigosa.
Fire chief Brian Cummings said the first woman to respond inadvertently stepped on live wire and was immediately electrocuted.
A second woman tried to help her and was electrocuted as well.
The women lay in the electrified pool of water, which continued to grow with the gush of the broken hydrant.
As more people approached the scene to help, more were shocked.
The husband of one of the women who was killed, Irma Zamora, told her not to rush toward the accident but she ran to help, according to the Los Angeles Times ( http://lat.ms/StiLd5).
Local resident Sue Kochoo told the newspaper that the husband was screaming for his wife when she arrived at the scene.
Fire spokesman Jaime Moore said the man had to be restrained from rescuing his wife, after being shocked while trying.
The survivors had minor injuries.
Cummings urged good Samaritans to use caution and to call 911 immediately after an accident, pledging that his department will do everything to be there as quickly as possible.
Cummings said fire crews were on the scene minutes after being called Wednesday night.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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