Firefighters spent more than an hour rescuing a worker who had a large metal auger through his hand and stuck inside a pipe at a Sullivan County business.
The incident took place around 9:19 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18, at Ideal Foods, located 89 Mill St., in Liberty, said Liberty Assistant Fire Chief Mark Johnstone.
According to Johnstone, the worker, who was standing on a ladder, was working on a machine in the basement of the business when the auger, which was attacked to about 100-feet pipe pierced his hand and pulled his hand into the pipe.
Before the rescue could begin, EMS had to sedate the man so firefighters could begin the "complicated" rescue, Johnstone said.
Using special equipment, and with help from the Monticello Fire Department, the crews carefully cut the pipe in several sections to reach the area of the auger.
"We had to make sure the victim was supported on the ladder and that he was as comfortable as possible as we carefully cut the pipe into pieces to reach the area of the auger," Johnstone said.
To be able to reach the auger, the machinery had to be stabilized and special tools had to be used to cut the pipe.
Because the machinery was located in the basement, the rescuers did not have cellphone or radio reception and had to keep running up and down for equipment.
"This was a very complicated rescue, one that we don't have to do very often," the chief said.
After about an hour, enough pipe was removed that the patient could be taken to the hospital with the auger and a "lot of pipe" still through his hand, Johnstone said.
"It was a great team effort by all involved," he said.
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