Firefighters save man working on billboard sign

New ladder truck proves itself in rescue.

Brainerd firefighters reach a man Tuesday, June 30, who collapsed while working on a billboard on Highway 210 south of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport. In the foreground is Chris Dunmire, who assisted the man until the firefighters were able to remove him from the elevated walkway and bring him to the ground. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

The Brainerd Fire Department’s new ladder truck came in handy Tuesday, June 30, when firefighters were called to rescue a man having a medical emergency 30-feet above the ground — while working on a billboard sign.

The fire department was called about 12:30 p.m. to help a man, who was on an elevated walkway working on a billboard sign, near Dunmire's Bar and Grill along Highway 210 east of Brainerd.

Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes said upon arrival, firefighters set up the department’s new ladder truck equipped with a 100-foot, mid-mount ladder with a platform on the highway. Firefighters were able to extend the ladder platform all the way up to the worker, who was having a medical emergency. The worker, who was already hooked up to a safety harness, was placed in the firetruck platform and lowered down to the ground awaiting emergency personnel from North Memorial Health Ambulance to get him ready to be transported to Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd.


Chris Dunmire tends to a man who collapsed on an elevated walkway Tuesday, June 30, on a billboard south of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport on Highway 210. Brained Firefighters were able to rescue the man with the use of the ladder truck from the department. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Holmes could not state the man’s medical emergency, but said he was conscious when rescued.

About 20 firefighters responded to the call, with about eight manning the fire station. The Brainerd Police Department and Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office assisted the fire department at the scene.

“We were really excited on how well the new truck worked,” Holmes said of the multi-functional truck. “We were able to get him down quickly in a very safe manner with the platform and get him taken care of.”

The fire department received the new ladder truck they call Tower 20 June 9. The fire truck is usable in both urban and rural areas and may be used for home fires, large agricultural building fires, technical rescue situations including high angle rope rescue, trench rescue, silo and grain bin rescue and more.

North Memorial Ambulance staff tend to a man who collapsed on an elevated walkway while working on a billboard near Highway 210 south of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport. The Brainerd Fire Department used a ladder truck to rescue the man from the walkway and bring him down. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Holmes said if they didn’t have the new ladder truck, they would have had to use their old ladder truck in the rescue. Holmes was not sure if the old ladder truck would not reached the man. Firefighters would have had to also use a stokes basket, or a rescue stretcher, to get the man down.


“The extended platform used to get him down worked real well,” Holmes said. “We were glad to get him down quickly and in a very safe manner.”

JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at or 218-855-5851. Follow me at on Twitter.

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