The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NW-trained firefighters save man’s life

By Haneen Khatib/nw news editor

After dinner on Aug. 3, Burleson firefighters got a call that someone was unconscious 700 feet up a radio tower.The man’s co-workers informed Burleson fire Lt. Jeremiah Lozier of their hard and exhausting workday.“It was one of those 109, 110 degree days, and they had been outside working in that heat all day long,” Lozier said. “Instead of stopping and taking a break, they just pushed on through.”

The men had already descended the radio tower when they noticed their co-worker was still up there.

“They were all three coming down at the same time. Two of the guys that were coming down below him made it all the way down, and at some point, they realized that their partner wasn’t coming down,” Lozier said. “They were too exhausted to go back up and help him.”

The man was rescued by Burleson firefighters who received their training from the NW Fire Service Training Center.

“It’s physically and academically demanding,” said Steve Keller, coordinator of fire service training. “They have to pass a state exam and become EMTs [emergency medical technician]. Then they can become paid firefighters.”

Students take a semesterlong class to teach them aspects of fire training.

“We serve multiple functions in regards to fire training,” Keller said. “They learn everything from safety, fire pump, fire hose, ladder training and ventilation training.”

The victim had symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration when the fire department received the call, Lozier said.

“We used our training and tried to combine it with their technical expertise of what they do every day at the tower to affect the rescue,” he said.

Dallas Fowler was the first firefighter to climb up the 700-foot radio tower.

“It took him an hour and 15 minutes just to get to the patient,” Lozier said.

Fowler climbed up the tower carrying an oxygen bottle and IV setup on a backpack for the patient, Lozier said.

The patient was lying without a harness on a platform extending out of the tower.

“His body was just completely exhausted,” Lozier said. “He was throwing up, rolling around, and Dallas was scared he [patient] would fall off the tower, so he would just say something to him every once in a while.”

Firefighters and the patient’s co-workers could not convince him to put on the harness and get back inside the tower.

“There was a doctor on scene that gave us the idea to give the patient the IV fluid bag and let him drink it like a Capri Sun, so he just drank it,” Lozier said.

Lozier believes the patient getting just that little fluid helped him to put on his harness.

Bill Buchanan climbed the tower next, carrying a 1,200-foot rope.

“The weight of that rope got so heavy that we had to send a third person up, and at this time, we are an hour and half in,” Lozier said. “A worker came up to me and said, ‘OK, I’m ready to go up and help.’ He got about 100 feet in the air and started cramping and had to go down.”

Matt Moseley was the third firefighter to go up and help Buchanan.

“Basically, Matt and Bill began to tag-team the rope,” Lozier said. “Bill would go up a certain height, and whenever the weight got on him, Matt would take the weight off of him and carry it up.”

Both firefighters got up the tower two hours later.

“We went back and forth until we got all the way up,” Moseley said.

Firefighters then had to figure out how to bring the man down.

“Bill went up 10-15 feet higher than where the patient was at so he could set up a rigging system, which is what we call a high-point. They set up the high-point so they can run the rope through the pulley,” Lozier said. “We can run a rope through that pulley and then the rope back down and attach it to the patient, and we lowered the patient to the bottom. We had control over him and he was secure inside the tower.”

Fowler, Buchanan and Moseley used their own strength to come down after making sure the patient was secured to the rope.

“Fowler went down with him [the patient],” he said.

“He had to use all of his own strength to get himself back down. It took almost an hour and a half to get him down once we attached him to the pulley system.”

With challenges such as high winds, heat, dehydration and, of course, the high radio tower, seven hours later, Burleson’s Fire Department made a successful rescue.

Moseley said his bag, which had bottled water in it straight from the ice chest, felt two hours later like it had been in a microwave.

Lozier said one thing he learned during his training at TCC helped save the man’s life.

“First place I ever used a tuba brake was at TCC, and that is how we lowered the patient,” said Lozier, who saw this rescue as one of his proudest as a firefighter.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian