SAN ANTONIO – A man who fell into a manhole just northwest of downtown early Friday morning most likely was climbing into it to look for a place to stay warm and dry, according to San Antonio firefighters.
Fire officials said the manhole, located near Interstate 10 and Colorado Street, is not far from a storm drain system where homeless people often camp out.
San Antonio Fire Department Battalion Chief Jarrett Vocke said overnight rainwater had blocked the usual entry point.
Vocke said it appears the man slipped and fell while trying to enter that area through the manhole around 5:30 a.m.
“(The) first units got on scene and determined he was between 15 and 20 feet straight down,” Vocke said.
Firefighters found out about the man’s predicament when other people who were with him called 911.
Firefighters set up their rescue rig on the highway, shutting down the lower level of I-10 for about an hour.
With a ladder extended from the truck and a system of ropes, crews carried out their rescue plan.
“To send the rescuers down and get the patient out of the hole,” Vocke said. “That was going to be the fastest and most efficient way to get him out.”
After a lot of effort, they were able to carefully bring him up to a waiting ambulance.
Vocke said he suffered a leg injury and would be treated at a hospital.
The rescue has left the man with a story to tell and firefighters with an experience that isn’t exactly commonplace.
“It’s not something we do on a daily basis but it is something our technical team trains for very often,” Vocke said.