Chesapeake, VA Firefighters Perform Technical Rescue

Early in the afternoon of August 2, 2003 Chesapeake, VA Fire/EMS was dispatched to 1000 Fairway Drive for a tree that had collapsed onto a house, with one occupant trapped.

Upon arrival, units confirmed that they had a large tree into the roof of a two story dwelling, with a child pinned to her bed on the 2nd floor by a large limb.

Squad 15 arrived and began the difficult extrication process, which included shoring the second floor from the garage. It was estimated that the tree weighed approximately 40,000 pounds.

Nightingale, the local air ambulancee based at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, was dispatched to the scene. Additionally, mutual aid was requested from Virginia Beach.

VBFD Fire Squad 10 and Tech 2 towing the collapse trailer were dispatched with the on-duty members of the department's technical rescue team. Chesapeake and Virginia Beach are both members of the Tidewater Regional Technical Rescue Team and FEMA USAR VA-TF2, so they have worked and trained together extensively over the years.

Command requested a crane to assist with the extrication. A local company responded with a 60 ton truck-mounted hydraulic crane, which was quickly put to work stabilizing and then lifting the tree.

Shortly afterwards, the patient was removed from the house and placed in the ambulance for the short trip across the street to the waiting helicopter.