Pittsfield Teen Rescued From Old Water Tank at Springside
Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Noyes said the teenager was with some friends in the area when he fell into a previously collapsed section of the tank. He plummeted some 25 feet and could not get out. After about an hour, he was extricated and transported to Berkshire Medical Center. Noyes said the boy's injuries are unknown right now but they appeared to be minor.
"It was really well done. All of our people did a great job," Noyes said of the rescue.
The tank has been fenced off by the city but teenagers are still known to go there. It was previously a reservoir that hasn't been used in years. The tank was empty when the 16-year-old fell inside.
Noyes said paramedic Carly Falone of Action Ambulance sat at the hole and talked with the teen to keep him calm as firefighters began setting up rescue operations. Noyes said the teenager reported he had trouble breathing and a broken wrist but he didn't know if there were any injuries beyond that.
The Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team was called in, which includes several members of Pittsfield Fire two of whom were responding to the incident. Firefighters were able to start the rescue operation as they waited for the team's arrival.
"We are up to seven or eight active members," Noyes said of the city's membership on the technical rescue team. "Today shows why you have to have members tech trained."
The technical team consists of first-responders from all over Berkshire County who respond when needed. They brought a trailer full of equipment and set up a tripod system with ropes in order to lift the teenager out. Noyes said two members of the team, including a city firefighter, were lowered into the tank and were able to prepare the boy medically to be lifted out. The whole rescue took about an hour.
"It was efficiently done but it feels like a long time," Noyes said. "There are so many safeties and checks."
In a situation like that, Noyes said the first-responders need to be safe because a second person getting hurt in a situation like that makes matters exponentially harder. The additional length of time taken to ensure those safety measures are in place feels even longer for an injured patient, but in this case, the teenager was able to remain relatively calm throughout as he continued to engage with paramedics and firefighters in conversation.
Those responding to the incident were Engine 2, Engine 3, Tower 1, Engine 6, Rescue 1, Truck 10, and a six-wheeler, which is a piece of specialty equipment the department has on hand for such needs. Pittsfield Police officers had dispersed people in the area and secured the scene for firefighters and the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team performed the rescue. Action Ambulance transported the patient.