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Samaritans Remembered for Bravery

City officials honor two women who gave their lives trying to give aid to a crashed vehicle and issue a reminder to always assess the scene of an accident before trying to help.

Mayor Antonio Villairagosa and other city officials Thursday gathered at the site of a to remember two women who gave their lives trying to render aid.

On Wednesday night, the good Samaritans rushed to a vehicle that crashed into a fire hydrant and a power pole near Magnolia Boulevard and Ben Avenue around 8:25 p.m., but what they didn't see were the exposed wires underneath the water.

Both women were electrocuted after coming into contact with the water, said Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings during the press conference.

One of the victims was 41-year-old Irma Zamora of Burbank, while the other woman has yet to be identified.

Villairagosa expressed his sympathies toward the victims' families and commended their rescue attempt, but added that sometimes some scenarios should be left to the professionals.

"One of our messages today is that we don't want anyone getting hurt in the process," the mayor said. "This very unfortunate tragedy serves as a reminder to us that we must always always assess the safety of situations before rushing into them. If you ever see downed power lines or exposed wires, I urge each of you to call 911."

Councilman Paul Krekorian also spoke and emphasized the importance of safe driving.

"Whenver there is a car accident like this it reminds us that we have to demand responsibility from the people who drive on our streets," he said. "Although the investigation in this case is continuing and i don't want to presuppose the outcome of that investigation, I do know as a representative of the San Fernando Valley that far too often lives are unnecessarily put at risk by people driving too fast on our streets, by people who think that they can handle going around corners faster than they can handle it."

A 2012 Chevy Traverse was heading westbound on Magnolia Boulevard around 8:25 p.m. when the driver tried to make a right turn from the left lane, causing him to lose control and shear a fire hydrant near the Ben Avenue intersection, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

An investigation into the crash is still ongoing, but Capt. Peter Whittingham told NBC4 the 19-year-old driver of the vehicle was speeding.

Drug and alcohol have been ruled out of the investigation, City News Service reports.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is offering tips on what to do when encountering downed power lines:

- Never touch a downed or dangling wire or anyone or anything in contact
with one. Assume a downed line is still energized. Report any downed power
lines immediately by calling the LADWP at 1-800-DIAL-DWP. If you or someone
else is in danger, call 911;
   - Don't touch anyone in contact with a power source: You could be killed
or seriously injured. Instead, turn off power at the control panel if
possible, then call for help;
   - If a power line falls on your car, stay in the car and wait for help.
If standing water is present, stay in your car and wait for help.  If you
must get out, make sure you do not touch the metal parts of the car and the
ground at the same time. The safest exit method is to open the door, stand on
the door sill and jump free without touching the car;
   - Stay away from metal fences, such as a chain link fence, as there may
be a power line down and touching the fence somewhere beyond your sight;
   - If there is damage to the connection from the power pole to your
house, you should go to the electrical box and turn off the main switch or shut
off the fuse switch. Again, always assume electric lines are live;
   - In case of an electrical emergency, stay calm and think before you
act. Don't become a victim while trying to help others. Call 911;
   - If someone is shocked or not breathing, apply cardiopulmonary
resuscitation. Then cover the victim with a blanket, keep their head low and
get medical attention.

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