A few years ago, firefighters were called to the vacant Dunn & McCarthy site on West Street in Auburn, where a 12-year-old boy had sunk waist-deep in wet, grainy soil. The soil had become quicksand, and rescuers knew they had to act fast.
Auburn’s Assistant Fire Chief Bill DiFabio said the team’s trailer of tools arrived at the scene within 10 minutes and firefighters began their approach. But when the rescuers sank to their knees in dirt, the team had to turn back.
“(The boy) was probably 40 feet from us down into the dirt,” he said. “It was very cold out there and he had been out there over an hour so it was a true emergency. We were working to get him out as quick as possible.”
And thanks to trench rescue training, DiFabio said, they knew what to do next.
The team ended up using plywood from the trailer, which gave firefighters a work surface to “get out there and dig.” Fortunately, he said, the boy wasn’t hurt.