2009-01-07 / News

Firefighters risk their lives to save injured victims

Becky Robinette Wright


Becky Robinette Wright/Chesterfield Observer Rescuers were forced to cut the roof from this car in order to free its passengers after it collided with a pickup truck on River Road.
Red and blue emergency lights crisscrossed the blackness in the 6900 block of Cogbill Road on Dec. 26 around 9 p.m. as rescuers worked feverously to save four victims whose lives hung in the balance.

It all began when station alarms sounded, summoning firefighters, medics, a safety officer, a battalion chief and county police to the scene of an overturned vehicle. A slight mist had been falling, and the roadways were damp.

Just a few feet above the heads of first responders, utility lines stretched across the narrow and curvy road like a web, containing broken bits and pieces of the wooden poles. The victims, with one person trapped, were in the crashed vehicle, and the clock was ticking. Without hesitation, crews quickly went to the aid of the victims, navigating under the dangling wires, as a vigilant battalion chief stood watch.

Additional firefighters were requested, and Med-Flight was dispatched for transport. Police closed Cogbill in both directions.

The whir of hydraulic tools penetrated the air as crews cut through twisted metal. One by one the patients were placed on stretchers and quickly transported to hospitals. The medical helicopter waited on the ground at a nearby shopping center with its blades rotating in a steady beat. When the critically injured patient was safely inside, the helicopter lifted off to deliver the victim to the waiting doctors and nurses at the trauma center.

Officials said they didn't know if or how many times the car may have rolled, but it was upright when they arrived. The vehicle had left the roadway, striking a utility pole and riding a ditch line before going through the ditch, mud and weeds.

Dale, Airport, Bensley and Matoaca stations responded to the incident. A crew from Manchester at Hull Street established the landing zone for the helicopter.

Police have not said if charges will be filed. Further information on the patients has not been released.

Chimney fire

Firefighters were dispatched to the 11100 block of Ivywood Road on Dec. 26 around 8:30 p.m. for a chimney fire. Three residents were home at the time, and they self-evacuated from the house. A crew from Chester arrived on scene first and reported fire showing from the chimney.

Also responding were Dutch Gap and Centralia, a battalion chief and the tactical safety officer along with county police.

With a swift attack from firefighters, the blaze was brought quickly under control.

Four injured in Matoaca crash

A pickup truck and a small car were entwined in a crash in Matoaca on Dec. 27 around 3 p.m., seriously injuring one victim in the 5500 block of River Road. All were transported to hospitals.

The pickup truck flipped several times before coming to rest on its top in a field. Victims in the car were trapped by the crunched-in metal. Firefighters used hydraulic cutters, spreaders and a tool called a haligan to free the victims.

Shards of glass from the fractured windshield were strewn about in the grass. Rescuers peeled back the car's roof, so the victims could be removed.

Responding to the crash were Ettrick, Matoaca, Phillips, River's Bend and Bensley Bermuda Volunteer Rescue Squad Unit #521. The tactical safety officer, a battalion chief and multiple police officers were also on scene.

The accident is under investigation, and police have not said if charges will be filed.

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