Crews hoist injured worker out of concrete tank at water treatment plant


by Jennifer Thomas

Posted on January 22, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 23 at 7:05 PM

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Crews from the Phoenix, Peoria and Glendale fire departments rescued a worker who was injured at a water treatment plant near Lake Pleasant Wednesday morning.

More than two dozen firefighters responded to the American Water facility near Lake Pleasant and New River roads at approximately 8:30 a.m.

The 44-year-old male worker was vacuuming a charcoal-type product out of an open-air concrete tank when his back locked up and he was unable to climb out of the tank.

"He just bent down and threw his back out, fairly simple medical injury, however, he's 12 feet straight down in a concrete tank," said Capt. Tony Mure with the Phoenix Fire Department.

A technical rescue team put the man in a metal basket and backboard then hoisted him up with a pulley system, according to Mure.

"The challenge was ... to keep him very flat on his back because of his injury and hoist him horizontally," Mure said.

The rescue took about an hour.

The tank is used to create drinking water for the city of Phoenix. The water is received from Lake Pleasant where it is piped into the treatment plant for its filtration.