Southern Maryland Firefighters Respond to Fatal Excavator Accident

On Thursday, January 27, 2005 at 2:50 PM, Bay District Volunteers were dispatched to BOX 3-08, 20378 Gilliam Drive in Park Hall for a reported tree on top of a vehicle. Engine 32, Squad 3, and Command 3 responded within 3 minutes with 9 personnel. While en route to the scene, Communications advised the responding units that they now received information that the call has now turned into an industrial accident involving an excavator with a subject trapped.

At 2:57 PM, Command 3 (Deputy Chief Joe Gould) arrived on scene and performed a scene survey, Chief 3B reported a large tree fallen on an excavator with one person trapped needing extensive extrication and the possibility of the patient being priority 4 (deceased). At 2:58 PM, E-32 arrived under the command of Captain Tim Pennington and began to try to access the patient to check for a pulse. Squad 3 arrived (under the direction of Lieutenant Luke Hagensick) and began to set up the extrication division to perform extrication. At 3:15 PM, a paramedic from Ambulance 399 (Lexington Park VRS) reported the patient was priority 4 (deceased) and to cancel the helicopter (MSP Trooper 7). Command was transferred to Fire Chief Wayne Johnson and Assistant Fire Chief Dave Smiley assumed the operations division. After command staff performed a survey of the situation it was decided to special call an additional excavator to remove the fallen tree from on top of the excavator.

John Blazer from Blazers Custom Construction (Past member of BDVFD) arrived on scene and offered assistance in obtaining equipment to assist with the removal of the tree. A large dozer that was obtained by Mr. Blazer arrived and cautiously removed the large tree from atop of the excavator.

Crews again set up the extrication division that was relocated until the removal of the tree and awaited the forensics investigator and the crime scene investigators to arrive from the Maryland State Police.

The extrication was completed at 5:14 PM, and crews remained on the scene to continue to assist the home owner by performing salvage operations. Tower 9 was special called to assist with salvage operations to the house by covering the large hole that was created by the fallen tree and clearing tree limbs and debris from the front of the house.

Units: E-32, Squad-3, Truck-3, U-3, Command-3, Tower-9, B-9, Chief 3, Chief 3A, Chief 3B, Chief 9B, Safety 9, Safety 9A, Water Supply 3

Mutual Aid: Medic-1, A-399, A-397, Car-38, MSP, SMCSD, MOSH, MSP Aviation