Good Samaritan electrocuted as husband watched, screaming
Irma Zamora's husband told her not to get out of the car as they approached the scene of a traffic accident on Wednesday night. But she rushed out anyway because that's the kind of person she was, her sister said.
She ran toward the wrecked SUV and stepped into an electrified pool of water that had been created by a spewing hydrant and a downed light pole at Magnolia and Ben avenues in Valley Village. She was immediately –- and fatally — electrocuted by what firefighters estimate was 4,800 volts of electricity.
"She was like that," Zamora's sister Ana Aviles said. "She always helped people. She didn't measure the consequences. She was trying to save a life."
Zamora's husband also reached the water and was shocked, though not as badly, said Jaime Moore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.
He had to be restrained from trying to rescue his wife, Moore said.
"By the time we came, the husband was screaming" for his wife, said Sue Kochoo, a neighbor who also hurried to the scene after hearing the crash. Kochoo said she and a friend would have also run into the water had someone not yelled at them to stop.
Kochoo said the electrified pool grew for several minutes. Zamora and another woman were in the middle, one on top of the other.
Rescue crews had to pull them from the water using a 6-foot pole with hooks and a handle that doesn't conduct electricity, Moore said.
In all, six people were injured, and two died.
Aviles said some of their family members had seen news of the crash but did not know Zamora was involved.
"We never imagined it was her," Aviles said. "She died like a hero."
Zamora was an assistant title manager at Lawyers Title Co. in Burbank, where she had worked since 1993. The company said she started out on the switchboard and worked her way up.
"Irma was friendly and well liked," the company said in a statement. "She will be remembered as a person who passed away doing what she always did, which was helping other people and putting others before her own needs."She lived in Burbank with her husband and son.
-- Sam Quinones
Photo: The husband of Irma Zamora grieves at the crash site. Zamora died while trying help an accident victim. Credit: Shawn Kaye