Updated with more information

Wareham Fire rescues man from 20-foot pit at Water Pollution Control Facility

Jan 11, 2022

A man was rescued from the bottom of a more-than-20-foot deep construction pit at the Water Pollution Control Facility by Wareham Fire early on Tuesday, January 11.

At about 7:20 a.m., Wareham Fire was notified that a man had fallen and was at the bottom of a construction pit. Assistant Fire Chief John Kelley said that the fall was not witnessed by anyone, so it is unclear where the man fell from or how long he was on the ground before he was found. Kelley said it’s believed that the man fell from some scaffolding. 

Crews worked quickly to safely load the man, who was semi-conscious, onto a stretcher in a Stokes basket and cautiously lift him to ground level using rope attached to the end of Tower 1 — the department’s newest ladder truck. 

From there, the 44-year-old man was tended to by Wareham Emergency Medical Services and the MedFlight team before being flown to Boston. Kelley said the man had suffered facial and head injuries, with other injuries possible.

The rescue was complete by 8:11 a.m.

“I’m fortunate that I have very experienced and highly trained staff,” said Kelley. A total of 21 Fire Department members took part in the rescue.

“We were fortunate several years ago, we had enacted a technical rescue team within the organization as well as having several department members trained,” Kelley said. 

The ladder truck used for the rescue is so new that it’s not officially in service yet.

“It saved a life its very first call,” Kelley said. 

Kelley noted that the rescue was complicated by the severe cold and windchill, both for the crews and the patient.

“Our ultimate goal is to safely remove [the patient] and keep our staff safe as well,” Kelley said.

He also noted how well the first responder agencies — Wareham Fire, EMS, and Police — collaborated. 

“We’re all different agencies but we work together as one team,” Kelley said. 

Guy Campinha, the director of the Water Pollution Control Facility, said that the worker was checking on concrete that was curing as part of the construction of a denitrification filter and a new basin. Because concrete needs to cure in warm temperatures, the area had been tented and was heated to 50 to 75 degrees by large heaters.

The worker who was injured was an employee of WES Construction, not of the Water Pollution Control Facility.

Campinha said that the Massachusetts Division of Public Safety and Occupational Safety and Health Administration had investigated the incident. It seems that the man had gone to check on the curing process at about 6:40 a.m. and slipped and fell from either a ladder or scaffolding platform — about 16 feet above the bottom of the pit.

Campinha said that on Tuesday night, he had been told the man was in stable but critical condition.

“He’s a really good guy, conscientious,” Campinha said. “He goes above and beyond.”