DENVER, SEPT. 16 -- A toddler trapped for 14 hours in a shaft dug for a remodeling project busied himself making mudballs and listening to his mother's repertoire of nursery songs before rescuers reached him at dawn today.

"It was really difficult. I could hear him crying, but I couldn't touch him and I couldn't help him," Lisa Davis, the mother of 20-month-old Kevin, said while fighting back tears at a news conference at Denver General Hospital.

Rescuers cheered when the boy was brought to the surface shortly after 6 a.m. "When he clinched my fingers, I felt a tingle in my heart," said firefighter Joe Cipri, who pulled him out. "It's still there."

Kevin was treated for dehydration at the hospital and released this afternoon.

The ordeal started about 4 p.m. Saturday when the toddler fell into a hole 18 inches wide and 12 feet deep dug for a remodeling project in a house the family is renovating in southeastern Denver.

"He just came to visit for a second because it's not a safe place for a kid to be," said Kevin's father, Tom. "He managed to slip under a piece of wood and fell into the hole."

Rescue workers dug a vertical shaft using a "Vac-Hoe," a huge digger that excavates with a stream of compressed air and vacuums out the loose dirt. They then dug a horizontal tunnel across five feet of earth to where Kevin was trapped.