ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WLNS) – When a man trying to cut down a tree became injured and trapped about 25 feet up this week, it was all hands on deck for the Ann Arbor Fire Department.
According to our media partners MLive, all on-duty firefighters responded at 11:29 a.m. Thursday, May 21, to the incident on Forest Creek Court off Stone School Road, said Fire Chief Mike Kennedy.
A friend of a homeowner was helping with tree removal when things went wrong, resulting in a case of blunt force trauma, Kennedy said.
“It appears as he was taking a limb down, the limb struck him, and so he was injured and also stuck,” Kennedy said.
Fortunately, several of the firefighters are members of the Washtenaw County Technical Rescue Team with specialized training to deal with such rescues, Kennedy said.
While the injured man wasn’t pinned by the limb, it was still a complex and challenging rescue, Kennedy said, noting crews had to stabilize the patient and set up a rope system, while others cleared the area and braced a ladder.
“There was just a lot of complicated and moving parts to this,” he said, noting 18 firefighters and six trucks were on scene.
By 12:39 p.m., the man was down from the tree and transported by Huron Valley Ambulance in stable condition to the University of Michigan Hospital, the fire department reported.
“He was conscious and alert throughout the entire ordeal,” Kennedy said.
Based on the type of climbing and tree-trimming equipment the man had, he seemed to have experience, but he wasn’t doing it as a contractor, Kennedy said.
“I don’t know if he ever did this professionally, but it sounded like he had quite a bit of personal experience,” he said. “This wasn’t like a weekend chainsaw warrior or something.”
The man’s harness probably saved him from really significant injury, Kennedy said.
While Ann Arbor firefighters were on scene, firefighters from Pittsfield, Scio and Ann Arbor townships provided coverage of the city under mutual-aid agreements.
These types of technical rescues are pretty rare and it’s been well over a decade since there was a similar tree rescue in Ann Arbor, Kennedy said. Sadly, he said, there usually are some deaths resulting from tree trimming in Michigan every year.
“These are very serious events,” he said, noting the amount of force from a tree limb can be significant.
Fortunately, he said, firefighters spend a lot of time training for incidents like this, so the rescue went like clockwork.