Corbin firefighters were able to put recent rope rescue training and the city’s ladder truck to good use Wednesday morning after a homeless man, who was apparently living under the Center Street Bridge, suffered some type of injury.
“We actually have been training pretty heavily on rope rescue. Within the last six months, I would say we have done four or five simulations there at the station. This ladder truck is a big benefit because we can swing it out and do that,” said Corbin Fire Department Battalion Chief Jack Partin.
“You hope you don’t need it, but when you do need it we have it there to use. We have several rope rescue technicians, high angle and low angle. It worked out really good. I am really proud of the guys and how they operated.”
Partin said that someone called 911 about 10:14 a.m. a.m. after seeing the gentleman, who hasn’t been positively identified, apparently injured near Lynn Camp Creek.
“The police came over here to check him. He has some injuries to him. We don’t know if it is medical or an accidental fall over the bridge,” Partin said.
Corbin Police Capt. Rob Jones, who was one of the officers that went down to the bottom of the bridge to check on the man, said that he was pretty scuffed up and his head was bleeding.
Whitley County EMS also responded to the scene to treat the man until he could be brought up the embankment and loaded into the ambulance.
Corbin firefighters took a stokes basket down the embankment and with the assistance of EMS secured the patient.
A stokes basket is a common piece of rescue equipment used to carry patients, who are located in rugged conditions where a traditional ambulance gurney can’t be wheeled.
During that time firefighters also set up the city’s ladder truck with the ladder out over the bridge in order to pull up the patient.
Firefighters on the bridge lowered two sets of ropes to firefighters below the bridge that were attached to the ends of the stokes basket.
Another firefighter climbed out on the ladder and tied the ropes together and secured them to the end of the ladder.
A third rope was sent down to firefighters below the bridge that they attached to the stokes basket in order to help guide it once it was raised.
A Corbin firefighter was also secured adjacent to the stokes basket as firefighters used the ladder to raise the patient, the stokes basket and the firefighter from creek level up over the bridge and then onto the ground.
“We set up a rigging system with the ropes and brought him up and transported him over to ems,” Partin said. “He’s talking to them but as far as the injuries, I don’t know how bad he is or anything like that right now.”
Partin estimates that once firefighters arrived and made contact with the patient, it took about half an hour to get him up the embankment.
“We could have probably sped the process up by 10 minutes, but EMS wanted to make sure he was stable before we started bringing him up,” Partin said.
Corbin firefighters set up an emergency landing zone at The Arena where an emergency medical air helicopter landed to transport the patient for further treatment. It is unclear where the patient was flown.
Jones said that it appears the man had been living under the bridge possibly with someone else since there were two beds.
“It’s the first time we saw him. He had been under there quite a while it looked like,” Jones said.
He said homeless people living under bridges around town is a fairly regular occurrence.
“It happens more often than you think,” Jones said.