AUDUBON - Two men, working on electrical lines as part of the Heartland Divide Wind Farm Energy project east of Audubon, had to be rescued from their boom truck after the truck started on fire.
Audubon Fire Chief Tyler Thygesen said an initial call came in at 8:53 a.m. at 2040 Pheasant Avenue, just north of Highway 44, with two workers trapped 100 feet up on the boom.
The electrical lines were not live, but the workers were trapped, and Thygesen asked Atlantic and Panora fire departments to bring out their ladder trucks.
“The boom truck engine compartment started on fire,” Thygesen said, “and they were approximately 100 feet in the air, so we had a couple things to tackle, a fire and a rescue.”
Thygesen said the incident and rescue came together quickly, and there were no injuries.
Audubon firemen were called out at 8:54 a.m. and arrived on scene at 9:06 a.m.
“We had everyone down and the fire out by 9:24 a.m.,” he said, “in a little less than 20 minutes.”
Thygesen said he was able to cancel the ladder trucks from Atlantic and Panora, because the company the men worked for had another boom truck working just a mile from the incident and were able to bring it in to get to the trapped men.
Thygesen said that the department had brought along their high angle rescue equipment, and would like to get a ladder truck some day.
“We have a ladder truck on our wishlist, and today I had a lot of the guys (on the fire department) saying ‘I think we need to bump that up the list,’” he said.
“More and more today we need the ladder truck for rescues,” he said, “They used to be a want, but now it’s a need.”
“The company did a very good job,” Thygesen said. He said the general contractor for the project was Mortenson, “and they have a very good safety program.” Workers with the company had fire extinguishers on hand and were able to keep the fire knocked down before the fire department got there, and were able to manuever the second boom truck into place to rescue the two workers.
“They have a good group of highly trained workers, I have to commend them for what they did today,” he said, “It’s definitely the outcome we wanted. The company did a very good job.”