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Crews Rescue Man Suspended From Rope At Md. Dam

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Credit: Joppa-Magnolia VFC

Credit: Joppa-Magnolia VFC

Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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ABINGDON, Md. (WJZ) –It was the kind of rescue that takes special training. And it paid off Wednesday in Harford County.

Alex DeMetrick has details of what happened on a little known dam.

It straddles the Atkisson Dam, a leftover from World War II that attracted a man right into trouble.

Straddling Winter’s Run in Harford County, the Atkisson Dam was built for the Army to supply water to Aberdeen Proving Grounds more than half a century ago.

Wednesday morning, it became the scene of a rescue when a man was reported to be dangling from a rope in the spillway.

Because it’s U.S. property, a special rescue team from the proving grounds fire department worked from above and below to free the man.

For fire companies, mastering technical rescues has become a growing trend.

Agencies train separately and together for this type of work. The Howard County Fire Department trained in a high angle drill last spring.

Because while it might not happen everyday, it takes experience to bring off safely when an emergency does happen.

“We call these the high-risk, low-frequency events, but they’re very well trained in it. For them it doesn’t matter how high it is, could be 30 feet or 150 feet like we have here,” said Battalion Chief Gordon Wallace, Howard County Fire Special OPS Team.

That type of training, along with working in swift water, all played a part in a successful rescue Wednesday that had the added element of working in ice cold water.

Why the man was on the dam is unknown.

His name has not been released.

He was transported to an area hospital for treatment.

Because the dam is on U.S. property, the rescued man was issued a citation for trespassing.

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