Yakima Fire Department Rescues Man From Water Tower

Yakima County’s Technical Rescue Team was called into action Mon., June 21 when a worker fell more than 35 feet into an empty water storage tank.

The 90,000 gallon concrete reservoir is housed in a cylindrical brick tower, estimated to be 80 years old, and there is limited access to its interior. The worker was part of a four-man crew assigned to inspect and clean the interior of the tank, which has not been used for more than 15 years.

As access to the tank was limited to the top, Yakima Fire Department’s Ladder 91 was called to assist. While some members of the technical rescue team entered the tank by ladder to stabilize the worker, others used the aerial’s access to prepare for the extrication, which would have to be through the roof of the tower, using a pulley system to raise the stokes to the top.

Approximately two hours after the initial call, the worker was lifted up through the roof, then lowered to the ground where EMS personnel were waiting. He suffered numerous broken bones, including his pelvis, and was transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Units from East Valley, Yakima, Union Gap, and the Yakima Training Center were involved in the rescue.