Victim Recovering Following Heroic Grainery Rescue

Emergency responders work to free a man who had fallen 15 feet inside the Frankfort Grainery Tower.(Photo courtesy of Frankfort Fire Protection District)
Emergency responders work to free a man who had fallen 15 feet inside the Frankfort Grainery Tower. (Photo courtesy of Frankfort Fire Protection District)

By Karen Haave

A 28-year-old man injured recently while working on equipment atop Frankfort’s Grainery Tower was discharged later that evening with a fractured arm and dislocated elbow.

Frankfort Fire Chief Sean Fierce said the young man fell 15 feet from an antenna and landed on the roof of the 125-foot tower in Frankfort’s downtown historic business district. He called for help on 9-1-1 after he realized he could not descend to the ground without help.

Fierce noted that access to the roof is difficult because of the interior configuration of the tower.

“Fire personnel had to climb a series of ladders inside the Grainery to reach the roof,” he said.

“Approximately 30 firefighters/paramedics/rescue technicians were involved in the incident.

“Due to the complexity of the incident, additional resources were required. A box alarm for technical rescue was requested,” Fierce added.

“This brought additional firefighters and technical rescue technicians to the scene. With the aid of these resources, the patient was able to be lowered inside the tower, and then moved down 3 levels. The patient was then handed out of a window that was approximately 80 feet in the air to firefighters who were in a tower ladder on the exterior of the building. The patient was then lowered to the ground and placed inside an ambulance.

“The patient was transported to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox in stable condition.

“No injuries were reported to any of the rescuers.”

The early afternoon rescue took about three hours.

Mutual aid was provided through the MABAS box alarm system by the Manhattan, Mokena, New Lenox, Orland, Lemont, Lockport, Crete Township, and Manteno Fire Protection Districts. The Tinley Park and Flossmoor Fire Departments also provided mutual aid.

“The District is grateful for assistance provided by the Village of Frankfort Police and Public Works Departments.”

Fierce applauded the Frankfort Fire Department personnel who conducted the complex rescue.

“Obviously they did a terrific job,” he said.

“I am extremely proud of our organization, and the degree of skill and professionalism that was demonstrated during this event was truly remarkable. This is not a routine occurrence, but our members were prepared for it due to the amount of training that they do throughout the year.”

Karen Haave is a freelance reporter.

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