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Steel worker recovering after accident

Manchester, N.Y. - A Palmyra man is alive after being buried under thousands of pounds of steel Friday, a mission fire officials said wasn't easy and required a combined team effort.

The Manchester Fire Chief Harry Bowker said, "The fire department, the medics and the coworkers all did a really good job of cooperating."

It took rescuers about 40 minutes to free John Washburn, 48, who works at Pacemaker Steel and Pipe Company. Fire officials said he became trapped around his chest, leg and foot after about five bundles of steel fell over him.

"He was conscious the whole time, and coherent and lucid which was good," said Chief Bowker.

The rescue required a lot of careful attention. Bowker said rescuers used wood to prop the steel bundles off of Washburn, then used an overhead crane at the company to lift each bundle of metal. Each bundle weighed about 3,000 pounds.

Bowker said, "We wanted to make sure that when we lifted that steel it wasn't unstable and roll the wrong way. When they brought the steel up with the crane, they only moved about an inch at a time, it was a very slow process."

As of Friday, Washburn was still recovering at Strong Hospital in guarded condition. He suffered serious injuries to his lower body.

Despite the serious injuries, the fire chief said Washburn is lucky to be alive after this ordeal.

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Washington Times