70 year old woman rescued after eight feet fall down utility access into basement

buy arial, medications sans-serif;”>Just before noon on December 5th Saturday a 70 year old woman was walking from her living room through a hallway when she accidently fell through an opening to the basement that was 8 feet deep. The vertical fall resulted in multiple injuries and possible fractures of the arm, store hip, and leg. The home was estimated to be built in the mid 1900’s and the basement served as a utility room for a floor heater and water heater. The only access to the space was a straight vertical ladder.

“The major difficulty was access– the room was compartmentalized with concrete supports, and we could only get one paramedic down inside the vertical shaft to provide for treatment and to place the patient in a rescue harness”, stated Fire Captain Thom Hoffmann. “There was only one way in and one way out, and the only option of getting her out safely, was to construct a hoist system in the narrow hallway system to lift the patient out.”

Firefighter paramedics splinted extremities and placed the patient in complete cervical spine immobilization in the cramped space. Advanced life support was delivered in addition to pain medications prior to moving the patient. A rescue system was assembled in the cramped hallway to create a high point in which a rope and pulley assembly could gently lift the patient vertically through the opening. It took rescuers 71 minutes to get the patient safely out of the shaft and onto the gurney.

During the fall, numerous pipes and ducting systems were compromised and it was suspected that the victim and rescuers were potentially exposed to asbestos. Firefighters provided for rapid decontamination of the patient prior to being received at the local trauma center.

The patient was transported in serious but stable condition.




Photo Credits: Ventura Fire Department


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