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Wasp nest strands man on 100-foot ladder
Firefighters make high-altitude rescue
W 101415 TOWER TRUCK RESCUE 01lighter
David Pollard of Tillman & Deal sprays his way out after being trapped by a swarm of wasps at the top of a grain elevator until the Statesboro Fire Department came to the rescue with it's tower truck. Department officials confirm that this was the highest elevation the ladder has been extended to-date during a real-life rescue, and was the second day in a row that the truck has been utilized. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

When Statesboro resident David Pollard climbed 100 feet above the ground Wednesday to replace a belt on equipment at a grain elevator, he didn’t expect to run into trouble.

And when Statesboro firefighters responded to a call about a man “stuck” at the grain elevator, they didn’t expect to find him stranded because of a nest of angry wasps.

Pollard, 22, a maintenance man for Tillman and Deal’s facility on Matthews Road, climbed up the ladder Wednesday afternoon around 2 p.m. in order to “switch out some belts” and apparently didn’t notice the wasps as he ascended. However, the wasps noticed him, and were milling about angrily as he prepared to climb back down.

Pollard wasn’t about to tangle with the swarm of irritated stingers, and found himself stranded, said Statesboro Fire Battalion Chief Derrel Melton.

“He didn’t get stung,” Melton said. After Pollard let others know why he wasn’t coming down, someone called for assistance, and firefighters were on the way with the department’s 95-foot-long tower truck.

However, the tower ladder wasn’t quite long enough, Melton said.

Firefighters were unable to get Pollard down via the tower truck, but a volunteer firefighter produced a can of wasp spray, which they tossed to Pollard so he could battle the wasps, he said.

“There were a lot of wasps,” Pollard said as he continued working Wednesday afternoon. “I’m not allergic,” but still, he wasn’t braving the nest of ill-tempered wasps by climbing back down through the swarm.

As a precaution, Bulloch County 911 dispatched Bulloch County EMS as well, in case there were injuries or someone had allergic reactions to stings.

It was the second time in two days the Statesboro Fire Department was called to use the tower truck, Melton said. Tuesday, firefighters rescued a man who suffered a seizure from the top of a home at Myrtle Crossing, he said.

Pollard killed the wasps and safely descended the grain elevator ladder around 2:30 p.m., according to radio traffic between firefighters and 911 operators aired Wednesday. And, Melton said, no one was stung.

 

Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

 

 

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