On Tuesday, April 16 at approximately 7:36 a.m. a box alarm was struck for a report of a motor vehicle in the water with a person still inside at 655 North Shore Road southbound. The response included several fire engines, and the inflatable zodiac with firefighters in dry suits. The first fire engine travelling northbound to the turnaround on North Shore Road could see a car in the water and immediately radioed the confirmation to fire dispatch alerting all incoming crews.
Upon arrival, firefighters Lt. Sean Griffin, Frank Trichilo and Paul McInnis prepared the hose-line floatation equipment. Civilians at the scene said there was someone still in the vehicle. The car airbag deployment made it difficult to see inside the vehicle, which at this point was more than three-quarters submerged.
Fire Department Lt. Sean Griffin realizing the situation could only get worse and time was critical, without hesitation, made the decision to enter the water with Firefighters Paul McInnis and Frank Trichilo, and attempt a rescue.
They waded out into chest deep 43-degree water to find a man struggling to keep his head above the rising water. It took the efforts of the rescuers to open the driver’s door against the water pressure and current. Once open, the male victim, weak, bruised, disoriented and unable to help himself was pulled from the vehicle placed on his back and assisted to shore. If not for the immediate response and execution by the rescuers the outcome most assuredly would not have been as successful.
The victim, a male in his 40s now conscious and alert with some facial bruising was taken by the Cataldo ambulance to the hospital. The Department of Environmental Protection, Coast Guard and the Harbor Master were also notified for any environmental issues however, there were no obvious signs of contamination in the water from the vehicle.