Crews use special equipment to rescue man from Phoenix canal

It was a very intense rescue this morning. The Phoenix Fire Department called out the canal near Washington and 48th Street, right behind the airport.

It turns out the man they went to help didn't just fall into the water; he was stuck.

A Phoenix firefighter held tightly to a plasma cutter, a type of blow torch, all in an attempt to free a man stuck in the water. 

"We're monitoring him, he's talking to us, he's alert and oriented, and answering all of our questions, he seems to be doing ok at this," said Capt. Mark Vanacore with Phoenix Fire.

"We found a man in the canal in about 5 feet of water, his leg was stuck up to his knee in the drainage gate that is here in these canals," said Vanacore.

Crews tried on their own but realized quickly that they needed the special equipment they often train with, the torch and the jaws of life.

"Our technical rescue teams train for all of these kinds of emergencies, whether it's water rescues, high angled rescues, mountain rescues, confined space rescues, all those things are things we can do, so when these emergencies arise we can safely get these people out of situations as soon as possible," he said.

"When we use those blow torches it gets hot around that torch, it has sparks. So what we did in this situation, we threw down our equipment down there to the patient, got him covered, made sure he wasn't injured any further from our rescue efforts," said Vanacore.

Each and every firefighter on the scene assisted in hoisting the man out; the 53-year-old man was promptly loaded onto a gurney and into an ambulance. He was taken to a local hospital to be checked out.

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