Cedar Rapids, IA, Firefighter Recovering after Falling Down Elevator Shaft

July 9, 2024
Cedar Rapids Fire Chief Greg Smith said the firefighter suffered serious injuries in the 30-foot fall.

Cedar Rapid firefighters were familiar with the structure when they got the call Monday.

It was at the vacant factory where a firefighter fell down an elevator shaft -- about 30 feet -- just three days earlier

"The male firefighter was located, rescued, treated on scene, and then transported to a local hospital. His injuries are consistent with the fall, they are serious. But, they are not life- threatening and he is continuing treatment as we speak today," Fire Chief Greg Smith told CBS2Iowa. 

Hearing the 'Mayday' from his crew was tough for Smith

"In my career, that's the first mayday that has been called for somebody in a live fire structure. You hear it on the radio, it makes your heart sink. Obviously, it's just intense focus until you know that the crews located that individual."

He added that the fire was caused by people, not fireworks or lightning. Firefighters searched the building Friday to make sure there was no one else inside. 

"The building was recently placarded by the city our code enforcement department or division on June 26. And so, at that point, only authorized maintenance and property-owner-approved persons could be inside. So the individuals that were there on that Friday morning were not authorized to be there."

About the Author

Susan Nicol | News Editor

Susan Nicol is the news editor for Firehouse.com. She is a life member and active with the Brunswick Volunteer Ambulance & Rescue Company, Oxford Fire Company and Brunswick Vol. Fire Co. Susie has been an EMT in Maryland since 1976. Susie is vice-president of the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Museum. She is on the executive committee of Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association. She also is part of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) Region II EMS Council. Susie is a board member of the American Trauma Society, Maryland Division. Prior to joining the Firehouse team, she was a staff writer for The Frederick News-Post, covering fire, law enforcement, court and legislative issues.