Fly Creek firefighters rescue highway crewman from collapsed culvert

Assistant fire chiefs Jess Lanza, left, and Henry Hight hold water vests and a rescue sling at the Fly Creek Firehouse. (Kevin Limiti/

Fly Creek firefighters
rescue highway crewman
from collapsed culvert

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

FLY CREEK Assistant fire chiefs Jess Lanza and Henry Hight responded to a call that saved a town highway crewman’s life on Tuesday, July 13.

A crewman had gotten his boots stuck in a culvert in the area of Christian Hill after a beaver dam collapse caused rushing water to drag him into the collapsed and damaged pipe.

“It was actually just a mile from my house, so I was first on the scene,” Lanza said.

There he found two people holding the man from the water.

“We needed to essentially sling him and prevent him from going any further,” Lanza said.

The firefighters used a rescue sling which was able to hoist him up. Less than a minute afterwards, an ambulance arrived, which took him to the hospital. The crewman was “visibly exhausted,” but they say he only suffered minor injuries.

“It was a big relief when we got him about,” Hight said.

“The last thing we wanted to do was lose someone,” Lanza said, acting in order to “quickly and safely get him past the bad part and to safety.”

Lanza said that it could’ve been much worse. “It just shows the dangers of these pipes,” Lanza said, who also remarked that it was lucky those two men were there to hold him up before they arrived.

Fly Creek Fire Department Chief Chris Voulo said the rescue shows how important some of the water rescue equipment they have is, which they ordered just in case something like the recent rescue ever happened.

“This stuff just makes it a lot easier to save lives,” Voulo said. “It’s worth its weight in gold as long as you’re trained in it.”


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