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Keith Norman, Forum Communications Co., Published December 10 2010

Jamestown squad performs aerial rescue

ELDRIDGE, N.D. – A man who reportedly suffered a seizure while working on a walkway 150 feet above the ground was rescued Thursday by a team of responders.

The incident was reported at 9:27 a.m. at the Country Grain Cooperative in Eldridge, said Jamestown Fire Chief Jim Reuther, whose department serves as the rescue squad for eastern Stutsman County.

Firefighters used its 95-foot aerial ladder truck to reach a landing on the access stairs part way up the structure. Personnel then carried the man down five flights of stairs before placing him on the ladder truck basket and lowering him to the ground. He was then taken by ambulance to Jamestown Hospital.

“This is a relatively rare circumstance for us,” Reuther said.

Firefighters considered a couple of options in rescuing the man before settling on their approach.

“It was quite windy up there,” he said. “And we decided we wanted to know he was on something solid all the time rather than dangling in the air. The best and safest was to bring him down the five flights to the ladder truck.”

Firefighters took turns working the rescue basket down the five flights of stairs between the top of the grain elevator assembly and the landing where the ladder truck waited.

“It was exhausting work,” Reuther said. “Even just moving down the two flights of steps each worked – tired them out.”

The name, age, condition and residence of the victim were not available. He was performing maintenance on the grain-handling equipment and was not an employee of Country Grain Cooperative, according to a person who answered the phone there but refused to be identified.

Reuther said the incident was the highest aerial rescue anyone within the department remembers.

“We used what we had available,” he said. “We got the gentleman down safely, and no one got hurt.”

Keith Norman writes for The Jamestown Sun