Elevator gets jammed with patient in cardiac arrest in Saint Mary’s Hospital

13 03 2008

PASSAIC — There’s a special heavy equipment unit in the area, a response to the tragedy of 9/11, that stands ready to dig, saw and torch its way into any structure where someone might be trapped.

But sometimes, readiness isn’t enough to prevent death.

Such was the case Saturday night: Firefighters got through metal and wallboard to rescue a large woman trapped in an elevator at St. Mary’s Hospital, but she died the next morning.

It was a harrowing rescue effort, fire officials said. City firefighters responded to a 911 call at 8:39 p.m. of a person in cardiac arrest trapped in an elevator. The elevator was stuck between two floors, and the woman was too large to be pulled through the escape hatch in its ceiling, Passaic Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost said Monday.

When rescuers discovered that they would need to rip through the wall of the elevator shaft to extricate the woman — as well as a doctor and two nurses trapped with her — they called in the special rescue unit run by the Paterson Fire Department.

“Once we exhausted all our tools and equipment … we had to come up with another plan,” Trentacost said.

Six Paterson firefighters appeared with saws and torches. After destroying a bathroom wall on one floor and a surgery room wall on another, they finally extricated the four people at 10:12 p.m.

The Paterson Urban Search and Rescue unit is one of nine such units statewide created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after 9/11. The units employ special tools, including torches and saws that can cut through thick metal, said Paterson Deputy Fire Chief Joseph A. Murray.

The woman weighed more than 300 pounds, Trentacost said. It took six men to lift her. The woman had suffered a heart attack before entering the elevator. She was being transported from the emergency room to the intensive care unit by the three hospital workers, who administered CPR to the woman while awaiting rescue, the chief said.

The elevator malfunctioned mechanically, he said.

When the woman was finally extracted from the elevator, she was conscious, but died early Sunday morning, said hospital spokeswoman Vanessa Warner.

St. Mary’s Hospital has no building-code violations on file, Trentacost said. A private company inspects the city’s commercial elevators twice a year, and the hospital’s elevators passed those tests, he said. Routinely, the hospital has fixed building-code violations immediately, Trentacost said. He characterized the hospital’s safety record as “very good.”

Trentacost characterized the Saturday night rescue as “very fast” considering the circumstances. Despite the death, the rescue efforts went as well as they could, Murray said.

“The system worked absolutely the way it was supposed to,” he said. NorthJersey.com

Panic turns blaze into inferno

5 02 2008

PASSAIC — A candle started a house fire on Howe Avenue over the weekend, but it was the panicky actions of the home’s owner that turned the bedroom blaze into a raging three-alarm inferno, fire officials said Monday.

No one was severely injured in the Saturday night fire that broke out at 182 Howe Ave., but the fire left 20 people homeless and the entire 2 1/2-story house gutted and beyond repair, Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost said.

“It was a total loss,” he said. But no one was severely injured in the fire, officials said.

Fire inspectors also were examining the possibility that the house contained illegal apartments in the basement and attic, Trentacost said, although the fire did not start in those areas. Instead, it is believed that the fire ignited in a first-floor bedroom, Trentacost said.

A woman who lived in the room later told fire inspectors that she left a candle burning that somehow ignited a bedspread. The owner of the house, whose name was not immediately available Monday, but who is related to the woman, tried to extinguish the flames by pulling off the bedspread. In trying to put out the flames, he burned his hand and then fled, leaving doors open along the way. That was the crucial mistake, Trentacost said: “He created a natural chimney for the fire to extend to the second floor.”

Firefighters arrived about 11:20 p.m. to find flames shooting from the front and side windows of the house. Five minutes later, a second alarm was called, followed by a third. Firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control just after midnight, Trentacost said.

Three-car crash likely to cause traffic backup on Route 3

31 01 2008

A three-car crash on eastbound Route 3 in Rutherford, just east of Route 21, is likely to backup traffic Thursday morning, police said. No injuries were reported.

The crash occurred shortly before 7 a.m., said police, who did not provide further information.

Motorists should expect traffic to slow as the vehicles are cleared from the roadway, police said.

In Clifton, an earlier rollover accident on Route 3 near the Route 46 merger, which temporarily shut down all westbound traffic around 6 a.m., has been cleared, police said. No injuries were reported in that single-vehicle crash.

— Michael J. Feeney Northjersey.com

Lost police submachine mysteriously turns up

22 01 2008


Wayne police have found a rapid-fire submachine gun that had been missing for at least two weeks.

But they won’t say exactly where the nine-millimeter weapon turned up on Monday.

It’s still not known who took the MP5 gun, which can shoot 700 to 900 rounds per minute, or how long it was missing from the department’s arsenal.

But the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department is running tests on the weapon to make sure it wasn’t used in any criminal activity.

Meanwhile, Wayne police and county officials are conducting a criminal investigation to determine how the gun went missing.

Explosion kills 1, injures 9 at New Jersey metal casting plant

16 01 2008

CARLSTADT, N.J. (AP) — An explosion at a metal casting plant about a mile from Giants Stadium killed one person and injured nine others, three critically.

The accident occurred Tuesday morning at Tec-Cast, an aluminum casting company located in a pocket of industrial plants and warehouses about a mile north of the Meadowlands sports complex. Workers were performing maintenance on an air pressure vat used to cast molten metals into machine parts, police said.

Workers were fixing a door on the approximately 4-foot wide vat shortly after 8 a.m. when it exploded because of air pressure that had built up in the back, said Capt. Franklin Smith of the Carlstadt Police Department.The explosion was heard — and felt — in neighboring buildings along the 300-yard-long cul de sac.

“I heard the explosion,” said Juan Muniz, who was working in an adjacent building about 20 yards away from the Tec-Cast building. “My whole building was shaking. It was scary.”

Mario Gomez, 61, of Jersey City, a maintenance supervisor at the facility, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Gomez was killed when the vat exploded, blowing off the door and scattering pieces of metal that struck him and the other workers.

Seven of the injured workers were taken to area hospitals. It was not clear if the other two declined treatment.

Three of the injured workers were in critical condition at Hackensack University Medical Center Tuesday afternoon, according to hospital spokeswoman Peggy Schunk. Two others remained at the hospital and were in good condition, Schunk said. She did not give specific details on their injuries, citing hospital policy.

Two injured workers were treated and released from Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center, according to hospital spokesman Craig Schmalz. Their injuries ranged from scrapes and bruises to knee and ankle injuries.

Tec-Cast officials did not respond to telephone requests for comment, and workers and company officials left the building without commenting to reporters.

A woman who answered the phone said she was in another building and did not know what was happening.

About 45 employees were in the building at the time of the explosion, Smith said.

Passaic 2 car M.V.A.

13 01 2008

 Passaic N.J.—  At about 5:00 Pm  two-vehicle accident on Van Houten Ave and Park Ave sent 2 people to the hospital with head and neck injuries. One of them was a child.

Injuries suffered by both of them involved were not considered serious, and the individuals were taken by E.M.S. to Saint Joes Hospital in Paterson.

 No other details were available Sunday evening.

You Can Save A Life ; Just take a fiew minutes and wipe the Ice/Snow off your car

13 01 2008


Above is a picture of a car that was smashed from falling ice. Please be considerate for your fellow freinds. Please take the extra fiew minutes to clear snow or ice off your car. Please use caution when driving leave extra time.

It was unseasonably warm last week, but it didn’t keep me from encountering people who sympathized — just barely — with this column’s call to ban the kind of road hazard that we call the Snow and Ice That Fall Twice.

That’s the kind of white junk that leaves the other guy’s car or truck, hits your windshield and makes your whole life flash in front of you. You know the kind:

* The Route 17 kind that killed Ridgewood’s Michael Eastman nearly 12 years ago.

* The Route 287 kind that caused Hawthorne’s Bob and Mary Mahon to chase after the car whose icy load smashed their windshield last year.

* The Route 80 kind that ran Kinnelon’s Tara Varner and her 2-year-old off the road last month.

Shouldn’t New Jersey fine drivers whose vehicles carry snow? Currently, statute 39:4-77.1 makes it illegal only when it causes damage or injury.

Cathy Eastman understands this because the vehicle whose icy load crushed her husband’s skull was long gone by the time police arrived. Tara, Bob, Mary and most of the 2,000 readers who sent me petitions early this year also get it.

But not some folks I’ve encountered. “There are thousands of SUVs, many driven by women,” said Pequannock’s E.L. Quigley. “They can’t clean ice off the tops of their vehicles.”

Ray R. also sympathizes, but:

“Do you have suggestions for clearing … snow from an SUV that’s been out overnight WITHOUT damaging the hood, roof rack or moon roof?” asked the Fair Lawn man. “Pushing snow off is easy, but after past storms, thick solid ice and packed snow didn’t budge after the car’s heater was on for 20 minutes.”

* Run a garden hose over the car with the heater running, but do this for short periods to avoid cracking the windshield.

* Put old cardboard, canvas or a rug over the vehicle before it snows, and yank it off after the storm.

* Run the engine for an hour, long enough to free frozen snow, or at least to help clear it.

Some consider all this unnecessary. One woman, 72, said: “If I can clean my SUV, so can anybody.” Cathy Eastman, who’s 5 feet 1, says she does it. NorthJersey.com And Passaic News.