When Nancy Linford heard her baby cry Monday afternoon, she left her toddler, Michael, 2, and went into the house. Then she heard a scream from outside.

"I ran outside, trying to follow the voice," Linford said. "I didn't even know it was my child."Michael had run behind the building and fallen into a drain pipe, 18 inches across and about 8 feet deep. "He was cold and wet - the water went about up to his knees - and he was upset, but he wasn't hurt."

Linford called police and the fire department while her neighbor, Brandon Wood, tried to calm the child. When safety officers arrived, Wood suggested they lower him, head first, until he could reach Michael.

"He just happens to be tall and thin, so it worked," Linford said. "Michael was only in the hole for about 10 minutes. We were very fortunate. It was a lead pipe, so I'm not sure how we could have dug down to get him." The city since has sealed the pipe opening.

Michael chatters up a storm about the incident. "He's only 2, so he doesn't communicate all that clearly yet, but he talks about the hole, the cold water and the firemen who came to visit him," Linford said.