Aspen emergency responders rescue fallen construction worker
On Monday afternoon a construction worker fell 15-20 feet into a hole at a construction site at 711 Spruce St., Aspen.
According to a press release from Aspen Fire Protection District, the 911 caller indicated that the scaffolding in the hole gave way and caused the worker, a male in his 40s, to fall. At the time of the fall, the scaffolding was about halfway up the 25-35 foot deep hole.
The call was dispatched at 1:26 p.m. and responders arrived at 1:32 p.m. The Aspen Fire Department responded with 15 personnel, one engine, one rescue truck, and two command vehicles, and the Aspen Ambulance District responded with two ambulances, one command vehicle, and 6 ALS and BLS providers. Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority also responded.
“I do think that (the crew) was following, as far as I can tell, the majority of the safety protocol as they were supposed to be in place,” said incident manager Jake Anderson.
The worker was conscious and breathing upon emergency transport to the hospital, Andersen said. His current condition was unknown Monday evening.
To assist in moving the equipment in the hole, a crane operator worked with several workers to clear a path for extraction. Responders reached the worker via ladders. The crane also assisted in lifting the injured worker out of the hole. The process took about one hour.
The crews extracted the worker from the hole with an approach called crew resource management. The method, which comes from aviation, ensures open communication among all parties, including the injured worker.
Aspen Ambulance paramedics and Aspen firefighters treated the worker in the hole and at the scene. He was then transported to Aspen Valley Hospital.
Anderson estimated this is the sixth such accident he has seen in the past year, but that the emergency response teams in the area are well-equipped for this type of emergency.
“I think the big takeaway for me is just how strong the partnership is between the fire department and the ambulance district. Our crews worked seamlessly together,” he said. “And even though an hour might seem like a long time, honestly, in our line of work for this type of operation that was exceptionally efficient.”
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