(KFYI News) – The Phoenix Fire Dept. on Tuesday demonstrated equipment they used to perform a lifesaving rescue of a man whose arm got tangled up in a conveyor belt. The accident happened Monday at a work facility at 6950 W. Southern Ave. in southwest Phoenix.
The first crews on the scene quickly determined they didn't have the proper personnel or equipment to perform the rescue. Dr. John Gallagher, the fire department's medical director, says the man's arm was essentially pulled off of his torso, and was wrapped around a 350-pound metal cylinder.
The fire department's technical rescue crew was called in, which used the "jaws of life" to tear apart the machinery in order to free the worker. In the meantime, his arm had been all but amputated. "We determined that the gentleman's arm was actually amputated by the machine. There was only a little bit of skin and ligaments attaching it," Dr. Gallagher told reporters.
Therefore, they had to administer morphine to the 47-year-old man to keep him as pain free as possible while paramedic Jason Newman used medical equipment to complete the amputation while other rescuers were tearing apart the machine to free him. The arm was so badly mangled that it could not be reattached.
Dr. Gallagher says the incident is an example of some of the rare but necessary rescues that the Phoenix Fire Department is prepared to handle on short notice.
PHOTO: A Phoenix firefighter demonstrates the "jaws of life" while standing next to other equipment in the department's three "Rapid Response" fire trucks.