May 14, 2010 in City

Crews quickly rescue man trapped by house

Home was being prepped for move
By The Spokesman-Review
Colin Mulvany photo

A man is taken to a waiting ambulance after Spokane firefighters freed him from a house at 3633 E. Second Ave. that had collapsed on him. The man was prepping the house to be moved when the accident occurred on Thursday.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

A man escaped serious injury Thursday when a house fell on him.

The man, who was not identified, was trying to move the home at 3633 E. Second Ave., which had been sold by the state Department of Transportation as part of the North Spokane Corridor. He apparently was working alone when the house shifted and collapsed onto what was left of the foundation.

“I heard it. We were down in the basement and I heard a boom. I ran up here and the house was down and there was dust,” said neighbor Geno Cushen. “I didn’t know he was there. He let us know he was down there. I could hear him calling. He said he wasn’t hurt, just trapped.”

At about the same time, the Spokane Fire Department Technical Rescue team was training with its tractor-trailer when the call came in at 1:41 p.m., said Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer.

“Our whole team, the tractor-trailer and the whole works, were at the training center when the call came in,” Schaeffer said. “They were able to quickly deploy and use the tractor-trailer to lift the house.”

It took about 20 minutes to extricate the man, who is in his 50s, and who works for Hammerhead Demolition.

Cushen said the man’s wife purchased the home and he had been working alone to jack the structure onto steel beams resting on trucks of four tractor-trailer tires. But it appears he didn’t put chocks in front of the tires to keep them from rolling, Cushen said.

“I called 911 … and half the city showed up,” Cushen said. “I’ve chatted with him a couple of times. They were moving the house. He’s been working on it for about a month.”

Schaeffer said the man was transported with minor trauma to the area around his hips.

“He was the only one inside when the load shifted,” he said. “He was between the foundation and the house. It sounds like he was trapped but not pinned. He’s very lucky.”

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