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Auto accident on Route 107 traps driver in car

September 25, 2003

Working together in a heavy rain, fire fighters and rescue personnel from Sebago and Bridgton successfully extricated a driver who was trapped under her car following a one-car accident last Tuesday, September 16.

Shortly after noon that day Sebago Fire Fighter Bruce Knowlton was returning home from Five Fields Orchards on Route 107 in South Bridgton. Coming around a turn in the road he saw a car that had gone off the road into the woods. A Ford Tempo had skidded off the wet road down a steep embankment and had come to rest flipped on its side. Bruce stopped to investigate and discovered that the driver was trapped under the car with her body partially out of the car.

Bridgton Police Sgt Taft (l) and Officer King (r)
interview Sebago Fire Fighter Bruce Knowlton,

He contacted dispatch in Naples, who toned out Sebago Fire and Rescue units to the accident scene believed to be in Sebago. The accident was just over the town line in Bridgton however, and when this was discovered Bridgton Fire Department and United Ambulance were requested as well. Sebago's Engine Two was the first unit on scene arriving 14 minutes after the call, followed in minutes by Sebago Rescue and Sebago Engine 4. Units from Bridgton and United Ambulance arrived shortly thereafter.

Fire and Rescue Personnel from Sebago
and Bridgton responded to the accident

As fire and rescue units arrived the rain began to fall heavily hampering the their work to safely free the driver from her car. The car was resting on its side down the embankment and was in a very unstable position. Any movement of the car could have had disastrous results for the victim.

Sebago/Bridgton Fire Fighter Tim Cook directed the critical stabilization of the car so that extrication of the patient could begin. While fire fighters worked on the car, medical team members from United and Sebago Rescue went to work immediately to stabilize the patient's medical condition, crawling into and under the vehicle to provide care.

Jason Grey from United Ambulance confers
with Sebago and Bridgton fire fighters

Fire fighters from the Bridgton and Sebago Fire Departments worked together using their "Jaws of Life" tools to remove a portion of the car's roof so that the patient could be removed. For those of us on the scene, it seemed to take forever to do so, but in actuality only about 20 minutes transpired for the extrication.

She was transported to Bridgton Hospital by United Ambulance, and was later taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where she was treated for serious injuries.

Bridgton Safety Officer Bill Morrisseau
displays the section of the
car roof that was removed
to extricate the patient.

The two towns worked well together on this difficult auto extrication, and it is a credit to their constant training and readiness that they were able to do so effectively. In Sebago's case, Sebago Fire and Sebago Rescue had held a joint auto extrication training drill only the week before involving a simulated patient trapped in a vehicle. This and other regular training drills pay off when the real thing occurs, as it did in the rain last Tuesday.

[Note - This article was published in the Bridgton News on September 25, 2003]

Allen Crabtree

Last updated October 13, 2003

Copyright © 2003, Allen Crabtree