A routine medical response on the Sassafras River turned out to be anything but routine when a pier collapsed under the first responders carrying a patient by stretcher.
Around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the Galena Volunteer Fire Company, based in Galena on Maryland’s upper Eastern Shore, responded to a medical incident along the Sassafras.
A Kent County EMS ambulance and a rescue engine arrived to the area of the Gregg Neck Boat Yard, where they found the patient on a boat tied up to a pier. A crew of five brought the patient from the boat onto a stretcher waiting on the dock, then lifted it to carry to the ambulance ashore.
While they were moving the stretcher, the pier collapsed underneath the EMTs and firefighters. One side went into the river, two crew members were pinned by the stretcher and one was forced into the water. The others maintained their footing and were able to keep the stretcher upright and the patient on it safe.
Galena says the crew quickly gathered some lumber that was lying nearby and some ropes to keep the stretcher in place until more help arrived.
The original patient was taken to the hospital by ambulance after the brief delay. Two volunteer firefighters suffered minor injuries, with one being treated at the hospital and the other treated at the scene.
Maryland Natural Resources Police were investigating the incident. Fire companies from Millington and Cecilton and the Kent County Sheriff’s Office all helped with the emergency.
-Meg Walburn Viviano