First responders rescued a young boy stuck in a concrete sewer pipe at a construction site in Fort Myers, Florida, on Monday night.
The child “was playing on and in stacked sewer pipes when he got his lower leg and foot wedged inside,” the South Trail Fire Protection & Rescue Service District wrote in a Facebook post.
“I’ve never particularly seen something like this happen before,” South Trail Fire Battalion Chief Matt Seneca told WINK-TV.
Personnel from the South Trail Fire Protection & Rescue Service District, the Iona McGregor Fire District Squad 73, a medic unit from Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District, and members of the FL Task Force 6 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) worked in tandem to rescue the boy.
Firefighters attempted to free the child using water, lubricant, and other rescue efforts to no avail. “The team decided chiseling the concrete pipe was the safest and quickest way to get the child free,” according to South Trail Fire & Rescue.
“We used a type of chipping hammer,” Seneca told WINK-TV. “It’s a pneumatic device so it’s powered by air, and it’s a more precision type of piece of equipment that was utilized to remove the victim.”
The boy was given goggles, ear muffs, and a blanket while the team worked to remove him from the pipe. He was eventually freed “with only a scrape to his knee and turned over to his parents,” wrote the South Trail Fire & Rescue in its Facebook post.
“The fire department is no longer just a resource used to put out fires and respond to people who are hurt or sick,” Seneca told WINK-TV. “We’re becoming more technically trained in incidents like this.”
Amy Bollen, director of public relations at South Trail Fire and Rescue, spoke to the importance of the USAR team in similar situations.
“The ability to use these tools, to be familiar, to have everything fresh in their head, this was an easy one compared to what they were actually, you know, were sent down to do,” Bollen told WINK-TV.
The task force responds to a variety of emergencies including structural collapses, confined space and trench rescues, water rescues, and much more, according to its website.