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Special-Ops Firefighters Rescuing Man Taken Ill Near Top of Palm Coast Water Tower

| July 26, 2017

Flagler County’s technical rescue team and Palm Coast rescuers were executing a rescue of a man affected by heat stroke atop the Palm Coast water tower this afternoon. The image above is from the archives. (c FlaglerLive)

At three o’clock this afternoon Flagler County Fire Rescue and Palm Coast Fire Department personnel were in a rescue operation involving a contractor suffering an apparent heat stroke near the top of Palm Coast’s 130-foot blue water tower.

The call came in to authorities around 2 p.m. that the man, a contractor working on equipment at the top of the tower, had become disoriented, a Flagler County Sheriff’s spokesperson said at 3 p.m.

“He’s still up there, he’s alert and conscious. They gave him water and fluids,” the spokesperson said. By 3 p.m., rescuers had reached the top of the tower and were working on getting the man down. There are no security concerns or issues involving the water in the tower, and no law enforcement was dispatched to the scene.

“We have a technical rescue team that does these high-angle rescues,” Flagler County Fire Chief Don Petito said from his truck at the scene. “They’re up there now and they’re rigging up all these ropes to get him down.”

“It is an employee for a company that does contract work for our utility department,” Cindi Lane, a spokesperson for the city, said at 3:15 p.m. “They maintain our tank. Right now they’re working on a mixer which is inside the tank, and the worker has apparently fallen ill.”

Lane said she did not believe the man was actually atop the tower, but very near the top. He works for a company called Utility Services, which does numerous jobs involving the water tower, including painting it. “He’s safe right now,” Lane said of the contractor.

The county’s state-sponsored technical rescue team has six rescuers on duty at all times “so we can do things like this when it comes about,” Petito said. “Hopefully they’re going to get him down because it’s hot out here.” It was 97 degrees outside Petito’s truck, with the heat index which includes the effects of humidity, pushing the feel-like temperature into triple digits.

Petito was unclear as to what, specifically, the contractor was working on at or near the top of the tower.

Rescuers did not think the man was going to be able to use the ladders to get down, so the ropes were being prepared to ease him down that way, Petito said. But the situation was fluid, and shortly after 3 p.m. Lane said there was still some hope that the man would be able to make his way down of his own power.

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9 Responses for “Special-Ops Firefighters Rescuing Man Taken Ill Near Top of Palm Coast Water Tower”

  1. RickG says:

    Wow. Who would have thought that Flagler County given its size and population would have a special ops rescue team as this. Kudos to Flagler County.

  2. Daytona North Resident. says:

    Heat exhaustion. Not heat stroke.

  3. Concerned Citizen says:

    Good job to all involved.

    I work outside year round and I can attest to how hot it has been. Even though it might only be 91 or so the heat index really creeps up on you.

    We were working on a big project the other day and I did not stat hydrated. (Shame On Me). I got home and wiped out. It ended up taking several days to feel 100 percent again. Now I keep water and Gatorade handy at all times. Drink when you aren’t thirsty!!

    I know this is mundane but here are safety tips to remember. When working outside stay hydrated. Can’t stress that enough.

    Wear a wide brim hat and the strongest sunscreen possible I keep several light long sleeve shirts around as well. And utilize shade when you can and take breaks when possible.

  4. Old firefighter says:

    Awesome job to FCFR tech.rescue team, and Palm Coast Fire Dept. It is great to see the two teams work together for the good of our county.

  5. Anonymus says:

    I’m glad he is alright

  6. Erik says:

    Who made the cell call? Hopefully his own crew. I used to climb. He should have had a rope already attached to the tower and a certified climber as ground support. This is the regulation. The city should report the incident if not for the safety of others who work for the same contracting company.

  7. John dolan says:

    Does this outfit Utility Services have a water bucket on the jobsite? Thank us tax payers for the expensive and necessary training fire department personel receive on our dime.1

  8. Whatever says:

    Big thank you to Flagler County fire rescue for a great job and thanks chief Don Potito for the training you give our crews and for being on site to supervise the rescue .!!

  9. USA Lover says:

    Great job guys! I’m glad he’s ok. It really is hot out there.

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