Washington Firefighter Hurt When Roof Falls

Dec. 27, 2008
A firefighter working to help a patient with heart pain was seriously injured Friday.

BOTHELL, Wash. --

A firefighter working to help a patient with heart pain was seriously injured Friday evening when a snow-covered awning collapsed on him.

Lisa Allen with the Bothell Fire Department told KIRO TV News that fire crews were preparing to transport a patient from a home when the accident happened. A firefighter was bringing a stretcher into the home when the roof fell on the firefighter and stretcher.

The injured firefigher had to be pulled out from beneath the fallen carport. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where a nursing supervisor reported his condition as serious.

The incident happened just before 5 p.m. in the Green Acres Mobile Home Park in this town in south Snohomish County, about 20 miles north of Seattle.

Bothell Fire Battalion Chief Jim Vandertoorn identified the injured firefighter as a lieutenant in the Bothell Fire Department. The lieutenant is 52-years-old and is a 20-year veteran with the department.

Vandertoorn said the awning that collapsed was suspended above a deck. The awning had about eight inches of snow on top of it. Vandertoorn said that vibration from walking on the deck might have led to the collapse.

The fallen awning was so heavy that four firefighters could not lift it. They used airbags to lift the roof off the lieutenant, said Vandertoorn.

The patient who was suffering from heart pain was taken to Evergreen Medical Center in Kirkland for treatment.

The identities of the firefighter and patient had not been released by Friday night.

Heavy snow has fallen in the Seattle area for the last week. Officials warned that structures with flat roofs are vulnerable to collapse under heavy snow and ice loads. They advised residents to stay inside if they had no way to clear snow from overhangs.

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