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Dec-12-2009 20:24printcomments

Crews Respond to Confined Space Rescue that Leaves One Man Dead

The manhole was located on a manmade dike that was part of a retaining water pond system on private forest land approximately 15 miles north west of Forest Grove.
Photos: Forest Grove Fire & Rescue

(FOREST GROVE, Ore.) - Fire officials say one person died and a second was successfully rescued today, after they became trapped in the confined space of an underground manhole on NW Timmerman Road west of Forest Grove.

Firefighters received a call about the situation today at 11:08 a.m. according to Dave Nemeyer with Forest Grove Fire & Rescue.

"Initial reports indicated that a teenage male had went into the manhole to operate a valve and was approximately 10 feet underground when he lost consciousness, at which point the teen's father went down to rescue his son and he also lost consciousness."

Nemeyer says family members were using ropes to attempt to remove both trapped victims from the manhole as emergency crews arrived.

Emergency crews found both victims still in the manhole at that time with the family in the process of attempting to remove the trapped victims from the confined space.

"The father was in cardiac arrest at this time, and the teenage son was conscious. Family members had used PVC pipe to blow air around the trapped teens face which according to statements caused him to regain consciousness."

Scene of rescue in Forest Grove, Oregon courtesy Forest Grove Fire & Rescue

Nemeyer says three units from FGF&R as well as one crew from Metro West ambulance worked to revive the father, providing advanced life support care, but resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful and the father was pronounced dead at the scene.

Emergency crews evaluated the manhole for dangerous gasses and did not discover any present, it is likely however that any dangerous gasses would have escaped while the manhole cover was open during the rescue phase of this incident.

The manhole was located on a manmade dike that was part of a retaining water pond system on private forest land approximately 15 miles north west of Forest Grove.

The family was apparently closing the valve to allow the pond to fill up with water during the rest of the winter and spring months.

At this time there was no water in the retaining pond which was to be used for recreation during the summer.

The teenage son was treated on scene and transported by Metro West Ambulance to Tuality Hospital in Hillsboro after complaining of leg pain and also for further evaluation.

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Jetty December 18, 2009 2:09 am (Pacific time)

Confined Space Entry - always a tricky business which should only be done after carrying out air tests (and other safety measures). Smart from the relatives to blow in fresh air !! They clearly saved the boys life. Had more of them gone in, more of them would probably have died. Must have been difficult to get them out - compliment for my firefighter colleagues!

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