An overnight accident closed Route 1 southbound for several hours, presenting challenging work for the West Grove Fire Company.
Just before 3am, pagers went off for an accident with possible entrapment along the Route 1 Bypass south of Route 796 in Penn Township. WGFC responders were alerted along with Medic 94, and were advised that a vehicle was off the road, and that a patient might be trapped.
Medic 94-2 was in the area and responded first, followed by WGFC Ambulance 22 and then quickly by Engine 22-2 operating from the West Grove Station.
Medic 94-2 arrived and confirmed the location, and then advised that the patient would need stabilization before being removed from the vehicle. Chief 22 arrived and established Route 1 Command. Rescue 22, Ladder and Engine 22-3 also responded. Engine 22-2 arrived and established a blocking position in the left lane, with Rescue 22 pulling close to the wrecked truck. Amb 22 crews worked to stabilize the patient with Medic 94.
Responders found a work truck, that was pulling a large amusement ride trailer, had jackknifed and run into the guide rail. After damaging the guide rail, the truck and trailer lifted up and over the guide rail, and came to rest down a steep embankment behind the guide rail. The truck's front axle and bumper was hung up on the guide rail, with trailer facing down into the ditch along side. Because of the positioning, the access to the driver's door was almost five feet down the steep, sloping embankment. The driver was not trapped, but was wedged against the door and seat given the precarious angle of the truck.
Crews began to examine the truck and trailer, examining them to assure they were stable and safe to work around. Crews ran a high strength strap to the truck and tied it off to Rescue 22. In addition, crews also placed rescue struts to the damaged truck, providing additional stabilization. Crews also worked to tie off both passenger compartment doors to provide access to EMS personnel. A 12 foot ladder and ropes were also used to provide a means to easily move the packaged patient up the steep bank to the roadway.
A full compliment of rescue tools was set out on the roadway for possible use (ultimately they were not needed). Rescue 22's light tower was used to provide lighting, along with portable lighting equipment as well. The victim was packaged onto a long board with straps, and brought back up to the roadway, and then placed into the WGFC ambulance along with Medic 94 for transport to Christiana Hospital.
Squad 22 responded from West Grove, and assisted the WGFC fire police with closing southbound Route 1 during the operation, and then assisted the State Police with traffic control until wrecker crews could move the truck and trailer from the scene, several hours later. The overall rescue operation lasted about one hour with the patient being extricated within 20 minutes of arrival on scene.