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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : local September 15, 2014

7/26/2013 6:00:00 AM
Firefighters respond to stranded hikers, hazmat situation, water geyser
The Daily Courier

Special operations staff of local fire departments applied their training this week, first on Monday by rescuing two hikers stranded on a cliff face on Thumb Butte.

Members of the technical rescue team of the Prescott Fire Department and Central Yavapai Fire District hiked Thumb Butte in the dark, according to Conrad Jackson, paramedic firefighter for the Prescott Fire Department. A Native Air helicopter helped the rescue by spotlighting the side of the mountain.

Rescue team members then set up a rope off the side of the cliff and rappelled down to the hikers, both in their 20s. They placed each hiker into a rappel harness and attached them to a rescue team member.

The firefighter descended the remainder of the cliff face with the two hikers in town. Neither hiker was injured and could walk out once off the cliff.

The rescue lasted about three hours, according to Jackson.

On Wednesday night, hazardous materials firefighters from both agencies responded to a spill of an unknown liquid - later identified as concentrated sulfuric acid - in the 500 block of Lincoln Avenue in Prescott. Firefighters learned that Yavapai Regional Medical Center treated two people with chemical burns to their feet after they had poured a clear liquid from an unmarked bottle that they had found behind a shed.

One of the victims intended to sell the large glass bottle online, so she poured out what she thought was water. The liquid splashed onto her feet, causing a burning sensation and blisters.

Hazardous materials firefighters along with local hazardous materials specialist Steve Maslansky found the bottle, nearly empty, outside the home and the surrounding dirt and sidewalk discolored black.

Firefighters conducted a pH testing to the liquid and determined it to be a strong acid with a pH of 1. They scanned a sample of the fluid in the team's laser spectrometer.

They notified hospital staff so the staff could treat the patients accordingly for exposure to sulfuric acid. The firefighters then neutralized the spilled acid on the sidewalk and in the yard.

On Wednesday afternoon, a Prescott fire engine responded to a report of a water main break on High Chaparral. The engine found a geyser spraying from the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the road.

The geyser reached 30 feet high and sprayed onto a nearby home. Firefighters began isolating the leak by shutting down the water mains on the street while waiting for the water department to arrive. Residents told authorities that the experience was the third time the main has failed on their street this summer.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013
Article comment by: @ More Bad Decisions

Actually, the lady who poured out the sulfuric acid IS the victim. She is my neighbor and it was her 10 year old daughter and my 10 year old son who found the old glass bottle behind the shed. They were being responsible and took it to an adult (the mother). Even the Fire Chief told me that bottle had probably been pitched and the kids happened to find it,
Sulfuric acid is one of the most commonly used acids there are, but not in the pH1 level - that is used to make meth. The bottle was dumped and she thought it was a cool bottle with water in it.

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013
Article comment by: Practical Realist

From a budgetary perspective, can the City of Prescott get assistance from volunteers from the Yavapai County Response Team's Backcountry Unit or YCSRT High Angle Rope Rescue specialists who work w/AZ DPS Aviation Units ? Can the City of Prescott Water Department respond to water main emergencies ? Just curious why both incidents mentioned above require paid employees from the Fire Department. Of course, I understand the HazMat incident, but..... (?)

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013
Article comment by: More Bad Decisions

Hopeully these "get off the trail" hikers are paying the costs for this rescue and not the taxpayer..

Hikers will vouch, there is not reason to get stranded on a cliff on Thumb Butte if you are an experienced climber and use the trails.

More 20 year olds not using their head to make decisions. Who are they and where do they come from? Was alcohol/drugs involved?

Dumping hazardous chemicals and getting her feet burned would seem she is not the victim, she is the "perp". And does she pay a huge fine for her deed?

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