Portland Fire & Rescue responded this morning to a tractor trailer that fell 65' from the I-84 to I-5 overpass. The first fire company on scene responded to the top of the overpass, the location where several callers were reporting a traffic accident. As the magnitude of the accident was realized, additional fire crews that specialized in heavy extrication were called to the scene.
65' below the top deck of the overpass, rescuers encountered a heavily damaged semi-truck that had turned upside down and trapped the driver. Incidents of this nature are complex and require rescuers to manage several emergencies at the same time. Before the patient could be reached, engine firefighters pulled safety lines to protect the patient and firefighters from the fire potential that more than 50 gallons of diesel fuel could have leaked from the semis damaged fuel tank. Firefighter paramedics then entered the semi to stabilize the patient and to provide treatment for his traumatic injuries. At the same time, crews stabilized the semi and prepared for the heavy extrication.
After leaving the overpass, the trailer of the semi truck impacted a building approximately 50' away. Firefighters with training in structural collapse were sent to the building to evaluate for collapse potential. However, the damage to the building was discovered to be superficial. Resources and personnel from two truck companies, two engine companies, a heavy rescue squad and two ambulances all worked in concert to safely manage this incident.
To extricate the driver, firefighters were forced to dissect the semi's cab and remove the heavily damaged vehicle from the patient. From the time firefighters first reached the scene until the patient was removed was 32 minutes. The middle aged driver of the vehicle was transported to Legacy Emanuel Hospital as a trauma patient with life threatening injuries. Two other individuals were contacted by firefighters and declined transport for their injuries.
The Portland Police Bureau is still on scene investigating the cause of this accident.
Contact Info: Gabriel Watson