ROGERSVILLE – Fortunately for a man who climbed an estimated 40 feet up a tree at Crockett Springs Park on Saturday night, Feb. 24, the Rogersville Fire Department had an aerial truck with a 55-foot ladder that enabled firefighters to rescue him after he was unable to climb down.
Fire Chief David Jackson said the young man, whose identity was not disclosed, had scaled the tree in an effort to retrieve his remotely piloted “drone,” which had become stuck near the very top of the tree. “It (the drone) was plumb in the top of the tree,” Jackson said. He estimated that the tree was as much as 70 feet tall.”
The chief said Hawkins County Central Dispatch contacted the Rogersville Fire Department at 8:05 p.m. after the man who attempted to retrieve the small, helicopter-like device from the tree both failed to reach the drone and decided he could not safely climb down the tree.
The trapped man, fortunately, had had his cellular telephone with him and had been able to phone for help.
The Rogersville Fire Department responded to the park with its aerial truck, which is equipped with a 55-foot “Telesquirt” ladder, according to Chief Jackson. “We were on scene at 8:07p.m.,” Jackson said.
He noted that fire fighters were able to position the aerial truck in the parking lot at Crockett Springs Park and still reach the trapped man with the truck’s extended ladder.
“We had to cut some smaller branches in order to get the ladder to the man,” Chief Jackson said.
Firefighter Lee Sexton noted that with the scene lit with emergency lights, Firefighter Kelsie Price climbed the ladder and, with assistance from Firefighter Michael Bradley, was able to get the trapped man safely back to the ground. Firefighter Scott Davenport operated the truck and maneuvered the aerial ladder into position, Firefighter Sexton said.
Altogether, Chief Jackson said, it took about 43 minutes to get the trapped man out of the tree from the time the fire department was notified.
Had the RFD not had an aerial ladder truck, Chief Jackson said, firefighters would have had to rely on the Holston Electric Cooperative, which has large “bucket trucks” to help with the Saturday night rescue.
On Tuesday morning, Chief Jackson said that as far as he knew, he drone remained stuck high atop the tree in Crockett Springs Park.