York Area United Fire and Rescue crew members and medics work to save a J&K Salvage Co. employee after he fell into a 6-foot-deep concrete pit on Monday,
York Area United Fire and Rescue crew members and medics work to save a J&K Salvage Co. employee after he fell into a 6-foot-deep concrete pit on Monday, June 16, 2014. (Courtesy of YAUFR Battalion Chief Rich Anderson)

Rescuers rushed to a Spring Garden Township salvage company Monday morning after an employee there fell into a 6-foot-deep concrete pit, a fire official said.

York Area United Fire and Rescue crews were called to J&K Salvage Co., 1099 Kings Mill Road, about 7:50 a.m., Battalion Chief Rich Anderson said.

An ambulance crew was called there first and requested help from YAUFR rescue crews and medics, he said. That call came in shortly after 7:30 a.m.

The employee broke his shoulder and suffered a back injury when he fell into the pit, which holds detritus from crushed vehicles, according to Anderson.

The wounds are not life-threatening, he said.

"He was lucky he didn't hit his head," Anderson said.

Fluids in pit: But the worker did fall into a stew of hydraulic fluid, oil and other debris.

Because of that, York Hospital's emergency department was notified to set up its decontamination unit for the victim, Anderson said.

YAUFR rescuers and medics climbed down into the pit with the victim.

They stabilized the man, attended to his shoulder injury and administered pain medication, then carefully put him on a long back board, according to the battalion chief.

Crew members placed him into a Stokes rescue basket and, using a system of ropes, pulled him out of the pit and loaded him into a waiting ambulance, Anderson said.

Rescue took time: The process took roughly 45 minutes, he said.


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"You don't rush something like that," Anderson said, noting that because the man's life wasn't in immediate danger, crews were able to take the time they needed.

The victim's name has not been released.

York Hospital spokesman Barry Sparks said the hospital has set up a special decontamination area and has a decontamination team for such circumstances.

"The idea is, you do not want anybody who's been contaminated to be around other people," Sparks said.

Gear damaged: Anderson said the ropes used to pull the man from the concrete pit must be thoroughly cleaned, and rescuers' turnout gear will have to be professionally cleaned of oil and other liquids that were in the pit.

Gloves worn by the rescuers had to be thrown away, and it must still be determined whether other equipment will need to be discarded, he said.

A compliance officer with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was on site Monday morning to investigate, according to Dan DeWease, assistant area director of OSHA's Harrisburg office.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.