Regina fire crews rescue injured person from inside empty grain car
There were high fives and pats on the back all around for members of the Regina Fire and Protective Services (RFPS) on Thursday after rescuing an injured man from a train car.
Neil Sundeen, RFPS deputy chief, says the person stuck in the car was a “young man” but did not speculate on what he was doing on top of the car or how he fell in. Moreover, the rescue operation was a good example of the broad skill set and utility of the department’s members.
“All that training, all that apprenticeship, all that work we do all the millions of dollars of equipment and everything just paid off today,” said Sundeen in an interview on Friday.
The call started Thursday, just after 7 p.m. when crews made their way out to 5800 Armour Road, north of much of Regina but still within city limits.
The 911 call was for an injured person inside a railcar with significant upper body injuries who was unable to get out on his own. This sprung the technical rescue team (TRT) into action, a group specializing in getting people out of high or tight spaces.
“They’re trained in high angle rescue and confined space rescue. This one I would call confined space,” he said adding that, for example, if a window washer was dangling off the side of a downtown building, the TRT would be the crew responding.
In this case, the man appeared to have been on top of the train car, falling inside the empty grain hopper train car. Sundeen said crews were faced with the dilemma of how to get the man out of the car safely without possibly causing more injury.
“We sent a crew down inside, two paramedics that were technical rescue trained, they stabilized the patient, put them on a special extrication basket, and then our crews outside opened the bottom hatch, the grain hatch or whatever, and then they were able to gently lower him just at ground level out,” said Sundeen. Pictures from the RFPS show members on the ground near train tracks with the person’s feet sticking out through the bottom of the grain shoot.
So, instead of contriving a way to get the injured man out through the opening, down which he fell, crews used the mechanics and dimensions of the hopper to safely get the man out, with fewer steps, dangers and opportunities for error. Sundeen, himself a self-described “ops guy,” said “these guys absolutely nailed it.”
“They took the most logical and the easiest and the least risky option and they got the patient out, he was out within a half an hour,” said Sundeen. “It was certainly not easy to get at.”
What the person was doing on top of the train car is unclear. Sundeen said it would not be appropriate for him to comment on what the person was doing on the train car since police, both railway and city, will likely be looking into the matter.
“Our job was to get him out,” said Sundeen.
CN Rail was not aware Friday of an investigation, but the RCMP did attend the scene, as did EMS which got the person to the hospital to be treated for what Sundeen described as non-life-threatening injuries.
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