St. Augustine Fire Department (SAFD) and St. Johns County Fire Rescue (SJCFR) had a strange call on the afternoon of Friday, Dec.12.
The initial page came out as a passenger vehicle vs. a structure with two occupants trapped in the vehicle.
First arriving units found a single-story automotive repair shop with the rear end of a small SUV protruding from the wall of the concrete block structure. To make matters worse, the vehicle was balanced on a pendulum approximately six feet off the ground. The front was hanging in the interior of the workshop, and the rear end hanging on the outside with two patients trapped inside.
After a quick review of the situation and the building, it was clear that the structural components of the building had been greatly compromised by the impact. This meant that prior to victim extrication, the building needed to be stabilized. The passengers were evaluated and it was determined that their injuries were stable. They did not require rapid extrication.
Additional resources including SJCFR's Technical Rescue Team (FL LTRT 316) were requested at the scene.
As the structure was evaluated, it became clear that in order to stabilize the building for safe victim extrication, the integrity would have to be reconstructed by firefighters.
FL LTRT 316 team members began the process by stabilizing the vehicle with cribbing and rescue jacks. The exterior structure showed clear damage surrounding the vehicle's point of entry. There was a medium amount of deflection toward the center of the building, and the corner appeared to be completely unstable with a large amount of protrusion visible.
A plan was formulated to construct a 45 degree raker shore on the corner of the structure to stabilize that wall. Next, a "T-shore" was erected on the interior of the structure approximately two feet from the corner in order to stabilize the walls and roof. Once these stabilizers were in place, the patients were safely extricated. Both were transported to local hospitals for evaluation of minor injuries.