Firefighters look back on rescue

August 5, 2009 6:14:50 AM PDT
According to police, the woman drove her SUV through a fence and down more than 200 feet into a quarry off Joshua Road.According to police, the woman drove her SUV through a fence and down more than 200 feet into a quarry off Joshua Road.

She is in stable condition, and today, everyone is talking about the men who got her out.

Firefighters savored the day, 24 hours after performing a lifesaving rescue that put some of their own lives at risk. They were among several dozen firefighters, cops and paramedics who plucked an injured woman who was trapped in her car from the side of a quarry in Whitemarsh Township.

Her car crashed through a gate and dropped about 200 feet into the stone and dirt pit.

"We repelled off the side. Three of us repelled at different times bringing different equipment.," Chief Matt McCloskey of Spring Mill Fire Company said.

Battalion chief Matt McCloskey was one of the rescuers who descended into the quarry to secure the car and the woman with ropes, they attached to fire trucks on the ground above.

Whitemarsh Police Corporal Sam Ditzler was another who took part in the rescue.

"The medics and firefighters were working on the car. It was secure to a degree, but it was never completely 100-percent safe," Cpl. Ditzler said.

"Every time a firefighter would repel down, loose rocks and dirt would fall down on top of the people already down there in the quarry," Assistant Chief Rick Clewell of the Barren Hill Fire Company said.

Rescuers fashioned a pulley system on a ladder truck to lift the woman in a basket to safety.

18-year-old Jordan Waxman tied the knots that secured the ropes that held the woman, the car, and the rescuers.

"I had to check my knots, make sure everything was tight. Keep my eyes on the guys, oversee what was going on. Just keep double checking to make sure my work was good," Jordan said.

"You never know what can happen. So your heart stops. You hold your breath and waiting until she gets on solid ground in the ambulance and gets taken care of," Deputy Chief Renard Rose of the Barren Fire Company said.

It's clear that the people involved in yesterdays rescue don't see what they did as anything extraordinary. They say it's simply their duty.

Click here to get the latest Philadelphia news and headlines from across the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.