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HVWFD responds to rescue on walking trails
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By Captain Michael Deniger
December 6, 2018

HOPKINTON — More than 30 volunteers from four fire departments, working six at a time in rough terrain, joined in the rescue of a 230-pound man who had broken his ankle late Tuesday afternoon while on a hike about a mile from the Camp Yawgoog Road.

The volunteers came from the Hope Valley-Wyoming, Ashaway, Richmond-Carolina, and Voluntown departments.

"It was definitely a challenge. The terrain in that area is very rocky and the paths are narrow, which prevented us from being able to utilize our ATV and other equipment," said Hope Valley Deputy Fire Chief Dave Caswell. "It was a manpower intensive effort."

Caswell said his department and Hope Valley Ambulance were notified just after 4 p.m. when the injured man and a friend called 911 to report that he had broken his ankle in the wooded area near Camp Yawgoog.

John Vuono, a volunteer captain with the Hope Valley-Wyoming department and a park ranger for the Yawgoog Scout Reservation, was at the camp at the time. He took other volunteers to begin searching for the victim, a man in his 30s. With the help of dispatchers who were able to ping the hiker's cellphone using GPS technology, Vuono and the volunteers found him a little more than three-quarters of a mile from the road.

Caswell said the department sent in a Stokes basket — a metal litter used in rescues — and staged its response near a trail-head on Camp Yawgoog Road, joined by the Hope Valley Ambulance Squad.

Taking turns in the dark, six at a time, the volunteers carried the man out on the litter and took him to the awaiting ambulance, which took him to South County Hospital. The entire response took just over two hours, officials said.

Caswell praised the work of his team and the volunteers from surrounding towns who provided mutual aid, saying the team effort led to a successful rescue.

"We have a lot of trails and it seems there's a new one every week," Caswell said. "Fortunately we have volunteers in the organization who are familiar with the trails and know just how to respond. These guys, from all agencies, really stepped it up."

- From The Westerly Sun -

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