A tank farm worker collapsed in a gasoline storage tank in Green Bay, WI, forcing firefighters to go inside the tank and pull him out.
Green Bay Metro Fire Department crews ended up called to the tank farm just after 11 a.m. Their rescue was successful, although a floating floor inside the tank that moves up and down with the gasoline to prevent the build up of potentially explosive vapors created additional challenges.
“We had to send personnel down into the tank and packaged him up in a Stokes basket, which is a rescue device, and then brought him up from the floating roof on to the roof of the tank,” Battalion Chief Rob Goplin said. “Then we brought him to one of our ladder trucks and brought him down to the ground and transported him.”
The department has firefighters trained in technical rescues, and a number of those people jumped into action during Monday’s rescue.
“We train for any rescue like this … where it’s beyond your normal call where you have to use ropes, perhaps pulleys, and it includes a confined space with a hazardous material,” Goplin said. “We train for all those scenarios and this one kind of put all of those hazards into one incident.”
He described this type of rescue as extremely unusual.
“This is a very rare type of incident,” said Goplin, who has been with the department for nearly 17 years. “In my time on the department we have not had an incident like this involving one of those tanks before.”
Firefighters had to wear respiratory protection because of conditions in the tank.
The worker ended up transported to a local hospital, and his condition was not immediately available.