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Massachusetts Funeral Director Discovers Life in the Funeral Home

Aired January 25, 2001 - 2:25 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: And now a story that sounds like something out of a nightmare or an episode of "The X-Files." A funeral director gets the scare of his life from what he thought was a dead woman in a body bag.

David Robichaud of our affiliate WBZ in Boston with more about that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEXTER BLOIS, ASHLAND TOWN MANAGER: It's a miracle. She's doing fine and we're all thankful for that.

DAVID ROBICHAUD, WBZ CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The so-called miracle on Joanne Drive (ph) happened inside the Chestnut Apartments in Ashland. Saturday morning, police responding to a complaint of loud music found a locked apartment number 20. No one answered their knocks. A manager unlocked the door police found a 38-year-old women in bathtub, apparently dead.

(on camera): When the police and the EMTs arrived in the apartment and saw the women in the bathtub, it appeared to them she was dead?

It apparently appeared to them that she had expired.

ROBICHAUD: And they checked for a pulse...

BLOIS: They checked all the signs that they were supposed to check. They followed protocol to the T and got no response from the young lady.

ROBICHAUD (voice-over): EMTs say the women had no pulse, no signs of respiration. Her body was gray and cold. EMTs called the medical examiner on the phone, who approved the removal of the body from the apartment to the John Matarese Funeral Home. Zipped up in a body bag on a table, presumed dead for three hours. Then the funeral director witnessed the impossible.

BLOISE: In his normal course of going about his business, he heard the young lady cough.

ROBICHAUD (on camera): And was she in a body bag at that point? BLOISE: She was in a bag.

ROBICHAUD (voice-over): The shocked funeral home director started CPR, called 911. The EMTs who earlier thought the women was dead also worked to save her life as she was rushed to the hospital.

Neighbors who earlier saw the women carried out of the building in a bag were relieved.

DAVE RUBENSTEIN, NEIGHBOR: I definitely agree with it that it's a miracle. I'm really happy that she's OK.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATERS: Officials haven't released the woman's name, but they she's hospitalized in good condition. She's recovering from this ordeal. Public health officials are now working, as you might imagine, to determine whether emergency officials acted properly. Police also are investigating the incident, but they do not suspect foul play.

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