A response to a 911 call on North Street in the Village of Caledonia on May 31 at around 8 p.m. required some quick thinking that ultimately resulted in a dramatic rescue from the home’s second story that shut down traffic and drew a crowd of spectators.
Caledonia Fire Chief Mike Churchill said Caledonia Ambulance and the fire department was called to the home of an 81-year old man whose wife reported that he was not breathing and was unresponsive. He was located in a second story bedroom. Churchill said they immediately determined that there was no way to get a gurney upstairs to the man due to the narrow and turning staircase of the older home.
Churchill called for the department’s quint ladder truck 118 to respond to the scene. The responding firefighters quickly acted by getting the ladder up to the victim’s second story bedroom window. Firefighters loaded him onto a backboard and into the rescue stretcher, called a strokes basket, then slid it out the window onto the ladder of the quint – while performing CPR to try and save the man’s life who happened to be a fellow Caledonia Firefighter. The man died the following day at a Rochester hospital.
“I had one lane of traffic shut down and the rescue took maybe 30 to 45 minutes before he was safely loaded into Caledonia Ambulance and transported to the hospital. I looked around to find a large crowd of neighbors and spectators had just stopped and were staring,” Churchill said.
Churchill said the responding firefighters have received numerous thank you messages in the last several days from people who either witnessed the rescue or heard about it.
This was not the first time the department’s quint ladder truck was called in to rescue a victim. Several months ago a woman fell while working on her roof and broke her leg. The ladder truck was used to rescue her as well.
Firefighters and EMS personnel are trained for all types of emergencies and in all kinds of conditions but with the hope that they never have to use it, Churchill said.
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