Firefighters rescue man stuck in mud

Photos courtesy Chief Steve Dyl, KFD First responders work to free a man who fell into mud in the meadows that was waist deep June 22.
Photos courtesy Chief Steve Dyl, KFD
First responders work to free a man who fell into mud in the meadows that was waist deep June 22.

By Kevin Canessa Jr. & Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondents


A subcontractor doing survey work for PSE&G nearly a half-mile off Disposal Road — and about a mile from Schuyler Ave. — in North Arlington was rescued by the Kearny and North Arlington fire departments after he hit an air pocket in the meadows and sank into mud up to his waist, authorities said.

The man, whose identity has not been released, was performing his work Monday, June 22, in the morning, when he hit the pocket, Kearny Fire Chief Steve Dyl said. After he sunk into the mud, the victim’s co-worker had to walk about a mile to reach the North Arlington Fire Headquarters at Schuyler and Disposal to summons help, because the victim’s cell phone was submerged in the mud, and that was the only cell phone available between the two, North Arlington Police Capt. John Hearn said.

Meanwhile, Dyl told The Observer, the location he sank in is affected by tides — and the mud was so thick, that it stuck to the victim.

When first responders arrived, Dyl said the victim wasn’t slipping any further than he already had, despite being waist deep in the mud. To rescue the man, Dyl said members of his department stretched out a ladder horizontally to access to the victim and to attach a harness with a heavy-duty rope to him.

Firefighters dug out dirt and mud around the victim to get the harness around the man’s waist, Dyl said. Rescuers then used a Z-Rig pulley system to extricate the victim from the thick, deep mud, Dyl said.

The victim had been wearing heavy-duty work boots that normally prevent sinking into the mud, according to Hearn.

“But because of the air pocket, we believe that’s why he fell through,” Hearn said.

Once the victim was pulled from the mud, he was doused with water and decontaminants to remove the mud that was still sticking to him, an eyewitness to the event told The Observer. Hearn said it took just about an hour to extricate the victim.

Some 12 Kearny FD members were on hand to assist with the rescue, including Deputy Chief John Harris, Capts. Art Bloomer, John Mc- Caffery, Ed Ryan and Joe Mastandrea and Firefighters Joe Ferraro, Evan Becker, Sean Brady, Luke Schappert, Bill Crocket, Nelson DaSilva and Darrell Szepta.

Ambulances from North Arlington and Kearny were both on scene.

North Arlington EMS took the victim to University Hospital, Newark, for treatment and three Kearny firefighters were taken to the First Care Medical Group in Lyndhurst for a checkup. There were no serious injuries, according to Hearn.

Several attempts to seek comment from PSE&G

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.