SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Spring Hill construction worker is safe and sound after a bridge collapsed and his trackhoe toppled precariously.
The call came out just after 1 p.m. Thursday of a bridge collapse and a man trapped.
Firefighters were actually taking a week-long class on difficult rescues involving ropes and using a ladder truck as a hoist to lift firefighters into tough places, and this is exactly what they did, only this time for real.
“The trackhoe was hanging on the roadway by like 2 inches,” Fire Chief Terry Hood said.
Thankfully, backhoe operator Dale Crumback was not hurt. He actually was communicating by phone with ground units who urged him not to move.
Chief Hood estimates the trackhoe, supported by a few inches of track still on the concrete and the trackhoe’s arm, which was wedged into the ground, was still some 25-feet in the air.
Hood says the problem wasn’t the height, it was the delicate nature of how the machine was precariously balanced and the proposition that any movement might cause it to tumble throwing the operator and crushing rescue crews below.
“Correct, we could not use conventional ladders to get up to him,” Hood says.
Hood told News 2 it is ironic that his crews were practicing just such a rescue all week.
“Who could write that up? That you are in class all week doing the same thing and your class ends with a real rescue,” Hood says with a smile.
Video on the fire crews shows firefighter Nick Kolesar hanging from a rope suspended by a ladder truck and being maneuvered to the machine.
Terry Hood also credits driver Cory Swenson with skilled maneuvering to keep the rig from swinging.
On body cam, you can hear the two men chatting as they prepare for the rescue.
After a few minutes, the two men clear the dangerous machine and are placed gently on the ground.
That’s where Dale Crumback gets a lot of pats on the back, handshakes, and a big welcome home hug from his waiting wife.
“It was an awesome rescue,” Hood says. “He did great. He absolutely did great,” Hood adds.
On Facebook, Crumback said he was blessed.