Belmont Hills, PA - At 4:24 AM a tree loaded with powerful electrical wires crashes down on an unsuspecting driver at Belmont Avenue near Rockhill Road. Fortunately for the driver, whose details are unknown, he/she was in Lower Merion. Police were on the scene in under a minute, the situation was assessed, and the victim was told not to move and no matter what stay in the car. The Power lines were active and occasional sparks and the sound of electricity crackled in the quietness of the early morning. The police had closed the roads leading to the scene.
The fire department was dispatched simultaneously with the police and the brave men and women mostly volunteer arose from their beds to respond to the firehouse to man the apparatus. Two fire company rescue trucks were sent one from Station 22 -Belmont Hills and the other from Station 21 -Penn Wynne. Rescue 22 from Belmont Hills arrived with its paid professionals and the volunteers. PECO Energy was notified to respond immediately and asked to cut the power. The situation could be dire. Paramedics from Narberth Ambulance were on the scene, and Penn Wynne Fire Company 's "Heavy Rescue" unit stood by while awaiting the "all-clear" from PECO Energy who owns and maintains the electrical distribution network.
The victim was injured and after 15 minutes had still not been seen or attended to by a medic. Waiting for PECO seemed like an eternity to the crews on the scene. The only thing that could have been worse would have been if the car was leaking fuel. It wasn't, but the rescue professions were prepared. Specialized non-water based fire extinguishers and were deployed just in case.
While waiting for the power cutoff, the rescue professionals planned to aid the victim as soon as it was safe to do so. The Narberth Paramedic Team had their supplies open and ready. Backboards designed to keep the victim's spine from being stressed were prepared along with crucial neck/collar devices.
A few minutes later the power company notified the rescue personnel that the power was cut and the all clear was given.
Within just a few minutes the fire crews stabilized the car so that it couldn't roll or move. A Narberth Ambulance team member was inserted into the vehicle to attend to the worst of any injuries and to protect the victim from breaking glass or metal shards from the destructive forces of pry bars and hydraulic rescue tools. Chainsaws roared and growled as their destructive chained teeth ate into the tree limbs as if they were butter helping to remove significant portions of the tree from the vehicle. The rescue crews kept a wary eye out from hitting the now dead power lines. Hitting a power line active or dead with a chainsaw, even though the power was off could be deadly for the rescuer. Accidentally hitting one could cause the wire to snap back hitting a rescuer with such force it could sever a hand or limb or worse.
Sunil Patel who witnessed the event was on his way to work in Blue Bell. He relayed that he was stunned to learn that the majority of the rescuers were volunteers and they were not paid to be there. Patel lives in West Philadelphia and didn't realize that people existed who trained to help others without any pay or recognition. He was taken aback by the thought that their volunteering could cause them to be hurt or worse. He thought that like Philadelphia, PA all of the fire and EMS persons are paid.
TAPinto reached out to the EMS, Fire, and Police for details of the victim's injuries and they learned that one person was transported to Lankenau Hospital for treatment. The ER department at Lankenau referred TAPinto to Lower Merion Township for details.