November 3, 2012
The Norwalk Fire Department performed a confined space rescue at 8:36am on Connecticut DOT worker that fell 30’ into a maintenance pit of the Straffilino Draw Bridge. The bridge across the Norwalk River connects East and South Norwalk. Upon arrival firefighters discovered a 56 year old Maintenance Worker lying at the bottom of a hollow caisson beneath the bridges operating mechanism. The worker had fallen 30’ onto a concrete floor and was in extreme pain with a serious leg injury, the patient also had possible neck and back injuries.
Firefighters had to first monitor the pit for oxygen levels and any toxic gases. Once the air was determined to be safe, Firefighters and a Norwalk Hospital Paramedic descended into the caisson to access the patient. The patient was medicated, boarded and collared, then secured into a stokes rescue basket.
The patient was lifted by a team of Firefighters vertically 30’ through a floor hatch on a maintenance platform 15’ below the roads surface. At the platform were various confined space and high angle rescue equipment and rigging, used to hoist the immobilized patient. Once the patient was on the maintenance platform he was secured to rigging at the street level for safety and carried by firefighters up the 15’ of stairs to the bridges surface. Norwalk Hospital Paramedics then transported the patient to Norwalk Hospital.
The extrication took an hour and a half to perform and Norwalk Police reduced traffic on the bridge to one lane, alternating east and west bound traffic, during the operation.
20 Firefighters responded with 3 Engines, 1 Truck, 1 Rescue and a Command Car. Firefighters cleared the scene by 10:00am and DOT maintenance personnel remained on scene.
Deputy Chief Edward Prescott
Norwalk Fire Department
100 Fairfield Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06854