A Nebraska man was injured Wednesday afternoon after falling 30-feet off a platform while sandblasting the inside of a water tower in northeast Iowa. Waterloo (Iowa) Fire Chief Doug Carter says a recent training session on above-ground rescues paid off for the firefighters.
“A high-angle, rope-rescue training scenario is what we did two weeks ago,” Chief Carter says. “So, it was fresh in our minds.” In the real incident, firefighters climbed the tall tower and entered through a two-foot wide manhole.
Carter says the rescue workers stabilized the victim before removing him to the tower’s cat walk. Then, the victim was lowered nearly 140-feet to the ground. Carter says the entire rescue operation took about 40 minutes.
“Obviously, during training, it’s more about doing everything right and taking as much time as necessary,” Carter said. “In a real situation, where you have an injured person – to make sure that their condition doesn’t deteriorate – you want to do it as safely, but as quickly as possible. We’re very pleased with the time that it took.”
The injured worker was transported to a Waterloo hospital. His name and condition were not released. The company that’s contracted to work on the water tower, J.R. Stelzer Company, is based in Lincoln, Nebraska.