Worker rescued as home roof collapses

June 7, 2012  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.


Plymouth Community Fire Department responded to an emergency medical call on Thornridge Drive in the Lake Pointe subdivision early Monday morning when a 50-year-old roofing contractor was seriously injured. The unnamed male worker, employed by Richard’s Roofing of Troy, required emergency care and rescue from a rooftop after falling through weak and rotted boards.

Plymouth Township paramedics administered medical care and intravenous medication to the victim on top of the one- story home but were forced to call for mutual aid from Northville Township when they did not have sufficient manpower or a big enough ladder to extricate the patient safely from the roof of the ranch home.

The entire Plymouth Community Fire Department staff, consisting of the four on duty firefighter/paramedics, a lieutenant and Fire Chief Mark Wendel, arrived on scene of the accident within 8 minutes of the 911 call. Wendel indicated at the scene that he did not advocate operating with such a small staff, which does not meet minimum national standards for fire department rescue.

The initial dispatch at about 10 a.m. called out the rescue ambulance from Haggerty Road Station One and a pumper from Beck Road Station Three. Huron Valley Ambulance was also dispatched along with the department utility truck. The equipment available and dispatched was not adequate for the rescue of the victim, necessitating a call to Northville Township for aid, according to reports of the incident. Northville Township fire and rescue units were not on a run and available so were able to provide back-up units in about 10 minutes of the call for assistance from Plymouth. Northville Township dispatched seven firefighters, a lieutenant, the needed ladder truck and an engine to the scene of the accident.

The nearby Lake Pointe fire station that housed the needed tower-ladder truck was closed earlier this year and the truck returned to the City of Plymouth when the joint operating agreement between the township and city ended Jan. 1.

Wendel said if they had called the City of Plymouth, which now has a working agreement with the City of Northville for fire and rescue services, Northville would have had to dispatch volunteers to drive from their homes to the Plymouth fire station to man the ladder vehicle and then drive it to the scene in Lake Pointe, an unacceptable risk in a medical emergency situation like this one.

This was the second incident in the Lake Pointe area in two weeks requiring Plymouth Township fire fighters to call for aid from Northville. In the previous instance, a house fire left Plymouth fire fighters unable to perform rescue operations in a burning home because they did not have enough fire fighters on staff. Only four fire fighters were on duty at two stations when the fire was reported by an alarm company at about 3 a.m. Brakes on the 20-year-old fire truck from the Beck Road station failed en route to the scene delaying response time and the other pumper truck, a 1984 model, stopped working upon arrival at the home, forcing the fire fighters to hook hoses directly to fire hydrants while awaiting help from Northville. In that instance, Northville also dispatched seven firefighters so that adequate staffing as required by federal guidelines was in place to perform res- cue operations at the home.

The victim in the roof collapse was trans- ported to the Botsford Hospital Trauma Center by Huron Valley Ambulance. His condition was unknown at press time.

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