The New Jersey mom is now calling for all manholes to be safely marked.
A New Jersey mother and her 2-year-old son were at Kawameeh Park in Union on Sept. 23 when he suddenly disappeared. Jennifer Marrow called out for little Henry and was shocked to realize that he had fallen into a dark manhole. She called 911 for help and then didn't think twice before jumping in to save her son. "There was no other option. There was no other choice," she told Good Morning America. "There was no waiting. I don't think any mother would have waited."
The mom and son were playing catch with her son when she suddenly lost sight of him. "I picked up a football and I was actually faced, looking at him because I don't want to get him used to just running off and not paying attention," Marrow explained. "I don't really call him by his name outside of the house so I'm telling him, 'Bubby, come back. Bubby, you need to come back to mommy,' " she continued. "And he's crouched and I'm thinking he's playing in [the] dirt, just not listening to me." But things took a dark and frightening turn when she heard her son calling out to her. The two-year-old had fallen approximately seven feet down into an open manhole. There were two feet of sewage water at the bottom, reaching up to his chin, Chief Michael Scanio with the Union Fire Department (UFD) told PEOPLE.
"I just know that he was there and then he was gone," said the mom. She called for help But then the water began to pull the baby boy down the tunnel and out of her sight. She realized that she couldn't wait any longer till help arrived and decided to take matters into her own hands. "I jumped in because he had now gone down the pipe," the quick-thinking mom shared. "And when I couldn't see his face anymore, I got in, crawled down the pipe. I couldn't see, but then his head went under and I couldn't see him, so I had to pop back up and turn on my flashlight," she continued. "I was crawling down to get him because it was too dark down the pipe." Marrow was finally able to grab her son and pull them both out of the manhole to safety. After surviving the terrifying ordeal, Marrow is now urging for all manholes to be safely marked so such situations never happen again. "I'd like to see cones, maybe a different color, maybe flags," she said.
Jennifer Marrow is calling for all manholes to be safely marked. https://t.co/HiJXpG5lgd— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) October 12, 2021
Fortunately, both mother and don did not suffer physical injuries but the toddler is likely to have ingested some sewer water. The Union Fire Department had arrived at the scene and began to treat the two. They were evaluated by Union EMS and later taken to a nearby hospital. Marrow's son has been recovering and has undergone several tests and treatments at the hospital, Scanio told PEOPLE that the manhole cover may have blown off during Hurricane Ida, which came through on Sept. 1. He ensured that the Union County Police and Union County Department of Public Works (DPW) were going to inspect manholes in the park and at other places within Union Township to make sure none were missing their covers.