Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Sunday, October 02, 2016

In the Wrong Place at the Right Time

"When the vehicle came to an abrupt stop, the tar washed up and out of its [industrial] container and into the work area of the truck."
Constable Clint Stibbe, Toronto Police Service

"The molten tar had spilled out of the container and completely encased one of the workers in the back [of the truck]."
"He was in great pain, obviously. He suffered significant burning from the tar but at the same time he was trapped. He was trapped in a pool of molten tar. The tar is extremely hot when it's in the pot, but as soon as it hits the air it starts to harden."
"This was quite an unusual extrication for us and quite involved. We had guys outside the truck, inside the truck, on top of the truck." 
"It was more than 40 minutes of clawing and scratching, bit by bit."
Platoon Chief Dave Denysek, Toronto Fire Services

"We were attempting to chip and cut away this tar that had cooled and solidified. As we were chipping and cutting away the tar, gravity pulled him back into the soft tar that was still underneath the outer coating."
"Picture lava that becomes hard on the outside that forms a shell and the inner is still soft. ... So every time we got a little bit of the tar removed from beneath him, his weight carried him deeper into the fresh soft tar and we had to repeat the process."
Capt. David Eckerman, Toronto Fire Services

The paramedics that treated a man who had hot tar spill over him say the burn injuries he has to his head and arms are serious.
The paramedics that treated a man who had hot tar spill over him say the burn injuries he has to his head and arms are serious. (CBC News)

Excruciating as a life-threatening trap, this situation presented as a horror show both to the worker who experienced the misfortune of being the central figure in this workplace accident drama, and the first-responders who answered to the need for expertise in extracting an unfortunate individual from the predicament he found himself in through no fault of his own, a victim of circumstances that no one could possibly have been able to foretell.

A predicament that threatened to end his life had any more time elapsed between when he was initially trapped in a molten eruption when the truck he was travelling in at a work site suddenly emulated a volcano in the throes of vomiting up its fiery core in a stream of liquid, flaming rock. In this instance, the 46-year-old worker would have had no premonition when he left his home that late September morning that a few hours later he would be fighting for his life in a Toronto hospital.

Liquefied tar wrapped its loving tentacles around the man the way a deadly monster of mythic proportions might have done, prepared to eat away his flesh and bury him within the scalding morass when a road repair crew was involved in this spectacularly unfortunate accident. The driver of the five-ton truck suddenly hit his brake to avoid running over a piece of equipment that had fallen from the front of the truck.

The three workers at the back of the truck were precisely situated to bear the brunt of the unforeseen. But it was one workers in particular whom fate ushered into position to become the ultimate victim when the 200-C tar spilled into the truck's rear where they were positioned. A side panel of the truck was sliced by firefighters in heat-protective suits who used a reciprocating saw to reach the worker, while Paramedics gave him a pain-reducing injection.
Fire crews at Logan and Danforth Aves. attempt to cut open the side of the truck to rescue the trapped man.
Fire crews at Logan and Danforth Aves. attempt to cut open the side of the truck to rescue the trapped man.  (MARC PERRY / TWITTER
The accident scene saw 18 firefighters and two paramedics responding and working to give aid to the man, a slow and agonizing process, given the circumstances. Suspension straps generally utilized to secure unstable vehicles at car crashes were used in this instance to pull under the victim in an effort to stabilize him in place as the firefighters chipped away at the cooling tar with the use of grinders, reciprocating saws and box cutters.

Cutting through the hard outer layer into the pool of still-hot tar that trapped the worker, the interior tar resembled toffee. Serendipity was still with the worker despite the perilous  situation because when he dressed for work that morning he wore a pair of rugged jeans over thermal underwear; a combination of cotton long johns and the jeans fabric helped to keep him relatively secure from some of the burning effects.

His burns would, without that protective barrier, have been even more serious. He was taken immediately upon his release from what might have been a tar coffin, to the outstandingly experienced burn unit at one of Toronto's hospitals, Sunnybrook.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet