December 3, 2011
Marine units from three Portland Fire Stations responded this afternoon to rescue a man from the Willamette River. A standard multiple unit response from different locations: Station 21 (Lower East side), Station 1 (Old Town), and Station 6 (NW Industrial), ensures that patients are located and rescued in the least amount of time.
Rescue Boat 21, the Eldon Trinity, reached the patient less than 4 minutes after being dispatched. Time represents the difference between life and death in water rescues; frigid temperatures increase the risk of hypothermia, the air temperature at the time of the rescue was 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Two minutes later, rescue swimmers from Old Town Station 1, aboard personal watercraft modified for surface water rescue, arrived to provide additional support.
Firefighter Dean Krake explains, "The man was standing aboard a large float along the west side sea wall between the Portland Spirit and the Hawthorne Bridge-he admitted to jumping into the river but did not explain why." The Eldon Trinity maneuvered alongside the float and the man stepped directly aboard. Cross trained as Emergency Medical Technicians, firefighters aboard the Eldon Trinity initiated medical treatment for cold exposure without delay. The patient's wet clothing was removed and he was wrapped in dry blankets.
The Eldon Trinity transported the man to a dock beneath the Hawthorne Bridge and care was transferred to a Paramedic Unit for transport to Providence Hospital; the patient's condition was not life threatening.
It is still unclear why the man jumped, and no patient name is available at this time.
Portland Fire & Rescue