Tower ladder failure injures 3 PA firefighters

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Belle Valley Fire Department 

Wattsburg Hose Company

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”.

PA Belle Valley TL Failure 3

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.

PA Belle Valley TL Failure 2

PA Belle Valley TL failure 1
Tower 369 from Belle Valley Fire Department website

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