DOVER (WJER) (July 25, 2022) – Firefighters and other first responders rescued a seriously injured man who crawled through a storm sewer and injured himself falling off an exit ladder Sunday.
Dover Police Officer Sean Lefler says a passing bicyclist first reported the man lying on the ground near the bridge around 9:50 p.m. When they went to look for him, they discovered he had crawled into a storm sewer pipe near the river.
Dover Fire Captain Mike Mossor says firefighters called to the scene heard the man, who police say is in his early 20s, walking and talking in the sewers. They also heard him fall after he tried to climb a ladder to get to the surface.
“He crawled through the storm sewer and found a ladder which led up to where we got him out here on Wooster Avenue,” Mossor said. “At some point during his crawl up the ladder he fell and sustained some serious injuries.”
Firefighters used their rope rescue and confined space rescue training to pull the man from the sewer just before 11:30 p.m. He was about 35 feet below ground level.
Mossor says police and firefighters knew where the male had entered the sewer but were unaware of the manhole where he attempted to exit because it was covered by weeds and brush.
“We did not know that was there,” Mossor said. “When I heard he was in a storm sewer, I called for someone from the wastewater department right away to help us figure that out.”
Mossor says the victim was taken to a hospital in Canton for his injuries. Lefler says it appeared he had a lower leg injury.
Dover police, wastewater and street department employees assisted, along with firefighters from New Philadelphia, Stone Creek, and Strasburg.
Why was he down there?
Lefler says police aren’t sure why the man went in the sewer, but his friends said he was despondent.
“Friends that had been out looking for him advised that he had been complaining about a friend of his that was in jail, and he was upset. He had been drinking and had found that pipe and that’s where he had crawled into,” Lefler said. “They weren’t sure why he had crawled into it, but that’s where we found him.”
Lefler says people should stay out of the sewers.
“People should know to stay away from any type of sewer drains that they many encounter that are open,” he said. “Even if they think it would be a good idea to venture into it, it’s probably not in their best interest to do so.
“It is city property, and so technically it is trespassing. It’s just that I don’t think anybody would find anything in there anyway that would be very exciting.”