• Firefighters speak about heroic rescue of Jacksonville tree cutter hanging 45-feet in the air

    By: Amber Krycka , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    One of the firefighters who helped save a local tree cutter hanging upside down 45-feet in the air explained what it took to make the heroic rescue. 

    “We have actually trained on this scenario more than once. We do it so regularly. We have done this multiple times over the years,” said Robin Gainey, a district chief with JFRD.

    Gainey was one of the firefighters who responded to the call Tuesday afternoon. He said while they have 300 hours of experience, they can’t take this for granted. 

    “One slip in this and it’s going to be a serious injury for somebody,” he said. 

    The tree cutter was hanging upside down 45 feet in the air after suffering from a seizure. Gainey said resonders' ladders were too short and they had to climb trees the rest of the way to get to him. 

    STORY: JFRD rescues man in tree suffering medical issue

    “We established an anchor above him, used two fire department ropes to come down and attach it to the victim, lifted him up,” Gainey said. 

    Gainey said the man had a hard time communicating, but he was still able to hold on tight. 

    “He had good grip strength, because he had the rope in his hand, he wasn’t going to let them go,” Gainey said. 

    STORY: JFRD searching for person in retention pond in Northwest Jacksonville

    For nearly 40 minutes, more than a dozen firefighters worked together to bring the man down safely. 
     
    “Once you capture the victim, you get him on your rope system, and then you can pick him up, remove him from his system, so that we can get him out of the tree. We just guided him down the ground ladder. He wasn’t able to climb, he wasn’t able to respond that well,” he said. 

    Action News Jax is told the 55-year-old man is doing much better. 

    Next Up: