Three Erie County, Pennsylvania firefighters were taken to the hospital yesterday (Wednesday) evening after the tower ladder they were in failed and began rapidly descending. The rig is Tower 369, a 2010 Sutphen, from the Belle Valley Fire Department. Tower 369 was at the Wattsburg Fire Hall on Route 8 when the incident occurred.
According to Marty Hamilton, Wattsburg Hose Company assistant chief, all three were strapped in the bucket.
The victims were in the bucket on a rig from the Belle Valley Fire DepartmenT, about 70 feet up, installing new equipment on a radio tower when the ladder started retracting in what was described as a “rapid descent”.
Firefighters at the scene say a cable snapped and the ladder’s descent lasted about fifty feet before coming to a sudden stop.
All three firefighters. one from the Wattsburg Department and two from Belle Valley, were taken to UPMC Hamot with what are described as non life-threatening injuries.