4 workers injured as stairs collapse

Cast iron tub was being carried up temporary steps that gave way

Four workers were injured when stairs under them collapsed as they carried a cast-iron tub to the second floor of a house under construction on South Gate Lane Thursday, Oct. 10.

Asst. Fire Chief Scott Bisson characterized the injuries as serious, but not life-threatening.

Fairfield police also responded to the scene, but Bisson said the incident did not appear criminal in nature.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was en route, Bisson said around 10 a.m.

The four workers — three from All-American Heating and Air Conditioning in Wolcott, one for Electrical Connection in Newington — fell some 15 feet, Bisson said, from the temporary stairs into the concrete basement below.

Another worker told investigators he saw the men’s heads before the collapse, Bisson said.

Asst. Fire Chief Scott Bisson addresses the media outside the house on South Gate Lane where four workers were injured Thursday, Oct. 10, when temporary stairs gave way beneath them as they carried a cast-iron tub to the second floor. (John Kovach Photo)

Fairffield firefighters used a lift similar to this, photographed at the department's website, to remove three injured men from the basement of a house under construction on South Gate Lane when they, and the tub they were carrying, broke through and fell 15 feet into the basement. (Fairfield Fire Department Photo)

Lt. Justin Greenhaw checks the tripod as firefighters rescue four men who fell through a stairway and into a basement Thursday, Oct. 10, at a house under construction on South Gate Lane. (Fairfield Fire Department Photo)

FFs Jordan Charney and Larry Noga manage ropes under the supervision of Lt. Justin Greenhaw as firefighters remove four injured men from a basement on South Gate Lane Thursday, Oct. 10. (Fairfield Fire Department Photo)

Listen to the 911 Call:

The cast-iron tub weighs between 300 and 400 pounds, Bisson said.

Advanced Technical Rescue tactics were needed, Bisson said at the scene. According to the Special Operations section of the Fire Department’s website, fdfairfield.com, Advanced Technical Rescue personnel are “Responsible for planning, training and organizing confined space, trench rescue, high angle rope and building collapse rescue techniques in accordance with Fairfield Fire Department rescue capabilities and OSHA requirements for operational and technician personnel.”

“It’s more advanced,” Bisson said. “There’s a lot of practice for what we do.”

Firefighters and a paramedic from American Medical Response used a ladder to climb into the basement to reach the men. The injured were secured onto Stokes stretchers and lifted using a rope system to keep them horizontal and prevent further injury, Bisson said.

“All four patients were transferred to awaiting AMR ambulances within 38 minutes of the initial call,” Bisson said in a release from the department. “Fairfield fire crews worked efficiently and effectively to manage patient care and packaging despite limited access and the hazards of hanging lumber and an iron tub that needed to be secured before initiating patient removal as quickly and safely as possible.”

All four patients were in the care of AMR within 38 minutes of the call.

“The guys did an outstanding job,” Fire Chief Richard Felner, who was at the scene, said in a release. “They did exactly what they were supposed to do. This could have been much more serious, but I often say ‘training pays off’ and they proved it today.”

South Gate Lane is a dead end off Pequot Avenue.

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