In emergency services, it’s sometimes observed that similar events tend to occur in bunches. This was certainly true for Newton Abbott over the last couple of days, when a long dry spell for rescue operations came to an abrupt end.

On Sunday October 4th, Newton Abbott was dispatched to a reported personal injury auto accident in the northbound lanes of McKinley Parkway, near East Highland. Multiple 911 callers reported severe damage, with one occupant potentially unconscious.

Assistant Chief Chad Locher arrived on scene and assumed command. A size-up revealed several vehicles across the travel lanes, multiple victims requiring ambulance transport, and the need for extrication… the process of removing a destroyed vehicle from around its occupants. Big Tree Fire Company was subsequently dispatched for their ambulance, and an engine, as well as the ambulance from the Blasdell Fire Department.

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Two feet of intrusion into the passenger side of this vehicle necessitated hydraulic extrication.

The crew from Newton Abbott 3 extricated the occupants of the most heavily-damaged vehicle. Under the direction of Captain Charles Minich, members initially performed a “wide-body” operation in which the doors on the damaged side of the vehicle, and the B-Pillar portion of the vehicle, are completely removed. Problems with the victim’s position inside the vehicle necessitated the subsequent removal of the roof, permitting final removal, and packaging for transport. In all, four victims were transported to the hospital by Blasdell, Big Tree, and Rural/Metro Medical Services ambulances. Big Tree Engine 2 and Newton Abbott Engine 1 were also on scene for traffic control and scene protection.

Heavy chains and a "come-along" were used to prevent the minivan from rolling over, enabling placement of struts to effect complete stabilization.
Heavy chains and a “come-along” were used to prevent the minivan from rolling over, enabling placement of struts to effect complete stabilization.

On the following afternoon, Hamburg Fire Control received a 911 call reporting a vehicle had left the roadway and fallen into a ditch alongside a bridge, on Milestrip Road between Niles and Alsace. Newton Abbott Chief Brian Evaldi arrived on scene and reported a vehicle on its side in the ditch, with a single conscious occupant. The vehicle would require stabilization before an attempt at victim removal could be made. Newton Abbott Rescue 3, Engine 1, and Utility 7-1 responded, and immediately got to work stabilizing the vehicle.

Heavy chains were used to secure the minivan to the bridge structure, preventing it from rolling completely onto its roof. The front windshield was removed, and Paratech struts were subsequently positioned to effect a complete stabilization. The victim, who thankfully suffered minor injuries, was removed safely through the opened front windshield, and transported to the hospital by Rural/Metro Medical Services.