Muscatine Fire Department performs high-angle rescue of trapped worker

Muscatine Fire Department
Muscatine Fire Department

NEAR MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) – The Muscatine Fire Department performed a high-angle rescue on Tuesday for a man who was trapped in a chimney.

At approximately 4:12 pm, a call was made requesting a high-angle rescue at 8602 172nd St. outside of Muscatine, Iowa. Upon arrival at Mid American Energy, the Muscatine Fire Department was told that a contracted worker was stuck in an industrial elevator basket in a 621′ chimney. The employee was trapped at about 230 feet high.

Muscatine Fire Department
Muscatine Fire Department

Muscatine Fire’s Hazardous Incident Response Team was able to lower a fire department rescuer to the trapped worker through a rigging system. Both the worker and the rescuer were then lowered from the basket to a  series of catwalks, and eventually the ground level. The entire rescue took about six hours in extreme heat and low visibility.

“This was an extremely dangerous and critical high angle rope rescue that was performed for the first time under these conditions at these heights outside of departmental training events,” Muscatine Fire Chief Jerry Ewers said in a statement.

Only one fire fighter sustained a small injury during the rescue. The trapped worker was dehydrated and exhausted but otherwise uninjured.

According to the Muscatine Fire Chief, the department was assisted by the Grandview Fire Department, Louisa County Ambulance, and the Louisa County Sheriff Department.  Approximately 11 Muscatine fire fighters responded to the high angle rescue; several off duty fire fighters responded to staff the main fire station and responded and handled several medical emergencies, out-of-town ambulance transfers, and one structure fire.

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