LARGO — A firefighter was seriously injured Wednesday morning after he fell out of a building during a training exercise.
According to Largo Fire Rescue, the firefighter was rappelling out of a second-story window at the department's training grounds at 751 16th Ave. SE when his equipment failed about 9:30 a.m. He fell one story, or 14 feet, and landed on his back. The firefighter, whose name has not been released, was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, officials said. He sustained a spine fracture and will need three to six months to recover. He was in stable condition, the city said.
He was training with equipment the city had recently purchased for firefighters to use when they need to escape through a window in a burning building, said Chief Shelby Willis. The equipment includes a harness attached to a belay line that is staffed by another firefighter plus a device that stops a fall in case the belay line doesn't work. Both the line and the device failed.
The state fire marshal will conduct an investigation, which is standard practice in the case of a serious injury, Willis said. The city also hired Peter J. Crosa & Co., an independent adjustment and private investigation firm, to evaluate the scene and equipment and interview other employees involved. The city is paying the firm $79 an hour, said Susan Sinz, director of human resources.