The fire department was toned out at 12:11 p.m. with the message, “leaking propane tanks caused by a fallen tree,” and Fire Marshal Tim Smith was requested at the scene.
The official report is not yet completed, but this is what Orange Live could put together from our conversations with Smith and Assistant Police Chief Anthony Cuozzo:
Contractors were removing a tree at a private residence and made a cut in the tree top about 20-feet up.
When it became apparent that the tree as not going to fall in the right direction, the arborist in the bucket (you know the kind on the work trucks) tried to get out of the way and either jumped, was thrown, or fell from the bucket.
The worker landed on the ground, the bucket landed on top of him, pinning his lower extremities (legs) and the tree landed on top of the bucket trapping the man.
The tree also knocked over two large residential propane tanks causing a leak and a potentially dangerous situation. Electricity to the home had to be turned off for safety reasons.
Smith said the extrication was complicated, because of the different layers of danger (propane tank leak, unstable tree, injured worker) the rescuers had to plan everything strategically and move things carefully all at once and it took about 40 minutes to complete.
“The fire department did a wonderful job extricating him using their air bag system, lifting the tree up very slowly, so they could monitor the patient,” Cuozzo said. “The last report was that he was in critical, but stable condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital. We’re not sure of the extent of his injuries.”
Cuozzo added that a wrecker truck from Mike’s Auto was used to stabilize the tree while the firefighters worked on the extrication. AMR and a Doctor from Yale (Sharps Team) monitored the patient during the ordeal, then accompanied him to the hospital. The Public Works Department was brought in to help and was ready to jump in as needed.
Officers from the Orange Police Investigative Services Unit (ISU), interviewed the man’s co-workers and were working on the initial report, but the entire investigation will be turned over to OSHA.
The Woodbridge Volunteer FD stood by at Station 2 and Milford firefighters stood by at Station 1 in the event of another emergency in town while Orange volunteer firefighters were on Kanuga Trail.
Smith added that the home also was damaged by the tree when it fell.
Orange Live will add more to this story after the official report is released.
Originally Published on: Apr 30, 2013 @ 5:01 p.m.
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