First Responders Worked Together To Rescue Victims Of Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse Amid Major Gas Leak
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- First responders battled snow, ice, frigid temperatures and a major gas leak to rescue victims from the site of the bridge collapse in Pittsburgh's Point Breeze neighborhood.
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Ten people suffered serious but survivable injuries after the collapse Friday morning. Four of those injured when the Fern Hollow Bridge collapsed near Frick Park before 7 a.m. were taken to local hospitals.
Five vehicles, including a truck and a Port Authority bus, were stuck at a 45-degree angle following the collapse.
Ralph Sicuro, president of Pittsburgh Firefighters Local 1, told KDKA-TV's Meghan Schiller that first responders needed to consider that the rescue was happening on top of a major gas leak. He said crews did not know if the leak could reach a potentially explosive level.
"First, I want to say that public safety as a whole -- police, fire, EMS -- worked together very well in order to make sure that they were able to get to the patients. And they went on foot, that was the first thing to do, is to get down there to make sure they were able to reach them. I understand at some point there were some ropes being utilized, as well, to help stabilize them as they were getting in, help assist people getting out. But it's a manpower issue on these types of rescues."
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Miraculously, crews safely reached every person, and none of the first responders were injured during the rescue.
The collapse also severed a major roadway route for first responders. At least three firefighter stations will now need to come up with different response routes.
"It is a throughway for our units that are responding," Sicuro said. "There was a fire early this morning in Wilkinsburg. So we will now have to plan our responses accordingly knowing that main artery that we would take is no longer available."
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