Worker Rescued From Inside Water Tower

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Provided by Prince William Fire & Rescue

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On Thursday, March 24, at approximately 1:30 p. m., fire and rescue crews were dispatched to a call regarding an injured worker who had fallen into a water tower located in the 7200 block of Old Carolina Road in Gainesville.

Upon arrival, fire and rescue units were informed the worker was inside the water tower providing welding/”hot work” maintenance when he fell approximately 50 feet (five stories) to the bottom of the bowl inside the tower. Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue’s specialized technical rescue teams, with assistance from Fairfax County’s technical rescue teams, worked to perform a complicated Rope and Confined Space rescue of the worker.

The rescue teams, cross trained in technical rescue and paramedicine, administered Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) care to the conscious worker, to include medications and IVs in an effort to ease the worker’s pain from moderate injuries sustained from the fall. PWL Due to the collaborative effort of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) and Mutual Aid agreements, a cohesive coordination among the teams occurred. The rescue teams utilized both a hauling and lowering rope rescue system and techniques for an effective vertical Stokes basket rescue of the victim from the elevated position. In addition, the Department’s Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) team was on site for continued monitoring and managing of air quality inside the tower’s confined space.

Upon extrication, the worker was airlifted by MedStar to the Fairfax Inova Regional Trauma Center for continued care and treatment.

The incident is currently under investigation by the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) and Prince William County Service Authority.


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