A Detroit firefighter is in stable condition after he fell from an aerial bucket Wednesday morning while battling a fire at the old Fisher Body plant.
Ladder 7 firefighter Nicholas Benskey was pulled away from the debris, put on a stretcher and taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital.
“He initially was knocked unconscious. After a bit, he came to,” said Second Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Dougherty. “He knew who he was and where he was.”
Benskey, who is married and a father of four, has been with the department for 10 years.
Fire Chief John King said investigators are still working to find out what led to the fall.
“We have belts on there to secure you in place,” King said — but he declined to answer whether he knew if Benskey was wearing one.
Crews initially responded about 4:30 a.m. to extinguish a fire and they returned to the scene around 7:30 a.m. when the fire rekindled.
The plant is near I-75 and I-94.
The audio above from firefighterdispatch is from the fire this (Wednesday) morning at the Fisher Body plant in Detroit that injured Firefighter Nicholas Benskey, who jumped from the bucket of the tower ladder as a portion of the building collapsed.
At 5:39 you hear someone radio to the bucket to back up and then the messages get more urgent. This is followed by the firefighter on the radio saying “Don’t jump!” The next transmission is for EMS to come to the scene.
Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Dougherty told reporters this morning, “Part of the building started to collapse. It appears that one of the firefighters then jumped out of the bucket.” Indications are the Firefighter Benskey dropped about 30 feet. A second firefighter in the bucket of the tower ladder was not injured.
Wednesday evening WJBK-TV reported the following on Firefighter Benskey’s condition:
(UPDATE) Benskey’s wife, Robin, posted an update on her Facebook page tonight. She wrote:
“Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers! God was watching out for Nick today because he is very lucky to be alive. He is doing as good as can be expected.
“He is in a lot of pain, he has 4 broken ribs and a punctured lung. But he is in good spirits, has had many guys from the fire department come visit and make him smile.
“He can’t wait to go home but knows he needs the rest and won’t get that at the zoo we love in. Keep the prayers up, they are doing a world of good! Love to everyone!“
Two firefighters were in the bucket near a southeast corner of the building when it started to collapse. One of the firefighters, in his 30s, jumped out of the bucket to safety and fell about 40 feet.
“It appeared, at the time, a portion of the building was coming directly at the ladder,” said Second Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Dougherty with the Detroit Fire Department.
“He initially was knocked unconscious,” said second deputy Detroit fire commissioner Craig Dougherty. “After a bit, he came to and he knew who he was, and he knew where he was.”
The firefighter, who has about 10 years of experience, was in the bucket with another firefighter, spraying flames into the second floor on the southeast side of the plant, Dougherty said. The second firefighter remained in the bucket and was uninjured, he said.
Dougherty says Benskey was initially knocked unconscious but has since came to and was aware of who he was. Benskey is said to be in stable condition.
Benskey is 35 years old, has been on the job for 10 years and just graduated nursing school.
A second firefighter was also in the bucket. That firefighter was not injured.
“He’s a great firefighter, a young guy, probably got about 10 years on the job now,” Second Fire Commissioner Craig Dougherty said.
Fire Chief Stanley Davis said a counselor will be on hand for the rest of the day to talk things over with the crew.
“Just for the guys to talk, to be able to express any concerns or anything like that. It’s like family members. Anytime one of your family members is hurt, everybody hurts,” he said.