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October 8, 2004

Building collapses in SC
Photos by Capt. Ben Waller, 
Firefighters Cunningham, Harden.
Story by Jason Walters
Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue/Truck 6

On 10/5/04 Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue units were dispatched to a construction site for an unknown medial call. Medic 3 arrived to find a partial building collapse with four patients self extricated and one confirmed trapped under the freshly poured concrete floor. 

Battalion 1 arrived and requested response from Engine 6, Truck 6 and activated Battalion 2. Truck 6 crews began to complete a structural assessment and requested the response of Rescue 1 (the collapse unit). Battalion 1 attempted to locate the victim by scanning the area with a thermal imager prior to the Truck company’s arrival. 

After the structural assessment was complete it was determined that the exterior walls were sound and there would be minimal shoring needed.  Crews worked to gain better access as an intensive search through approximately 10” of fresh concrete, rebar, and steel decking continued. 

Approximately thirty minutes into the incident the victim’s leg was located under the steel decking but there was virtually no access to him. 

With the use of hydraulic cutters, spreaders, rams, pneumatic lifting bags, an exothermic torch, circular saw with diamond blade, various hand tools and shoring devices, the victim was removed from the debris within 10 minutes of locating him. The victim was completely wrapped in several layers of steel decking and rebar. 

Each section of decking and rebar had to be displaced, cut, and shored to free the victim. Unfortunately the victim was deceased when crews from Truck 6 were able to gain access.

Crews from Truck 6 and Engine 6 were busy for several hours cleaning the wet concrete from all equipment used. Truck 6’s shift also included an auto accident with entrapment x1.