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Tree trimmer in Elmwood Village pinned, injured when limb breaks

A man trimming a tree over the rear of an apartment building in the Elmwood Village was injured Wednesday morning when the limb he was hanging from snapped and he and the limb tumbled to the edge of the roof below, Buffalo fire officials said.

“The limb pinned him to the roof,” said Battalion Chief Steve Keohane.

Firefighters were called at about 10:30 a.m. to 353 Elmwood Avenue for a report of a man trapped on a roof, he said. They used the bucket of a ladder truck to reach the man and provide emergency medical care, he said.

“It was kind of a tough angle and a tough location,” Keohane said. “We couldn’t do anything from the ground.”

Firefighters then muscled the limb off the man, secured him in a Stokes basket and lowered him in the bucket to the ground.

The man, who was harnessed, was in pain from possible lower leg fractures, said Keohane. Firefighters had been worried about the man going into shock due to the crush injuries to his lower legs.

“It was a big log,” said Keohane, who estimated it at 14 inches in diameter and 5 feet long.

The limb of the silver maple tree may have rotted, resulting in the break. The victim, believed to be in his late 30s, was transported by Rural Metro Medical Services to Erie County Medical Center.

Firefighters maneuvered their trucks around to the back of the three-story multiunit apartment building between Bryant and Summer streets.

“These are complicated rescues,” Keohane said. “They really are complicated to get our equipment in here. Complicated to negotiate when you’re working on a roof. Hard to get the guys tethered off.”

Keohane said the tree trimmer was “very, very lucky” he and the limb didn’t fall all the way to the ground.


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