Update: Rescued Plant Worker Expected to Recover

PERKIOMEN PA – The male worker rescued Thursday morning (March 11, 2021) at the Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) plant on Iron Bridge Road in Perkiomen Township, whose hand became caught and injured in machinery there, “was released from the hospital the same day and is expected to make a full recovery,” the company announced Friday (March 12) in a media release distributed at 3:30 p.m.

The firm acknowledged the individual – his name, age, and hometown were not mentioned – was one of its employees, and that following the incident he had been airlifted by helicopter for treatment at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

The PCA release also said the company planned to “conduct a full review to determine the cause of the incident and take all appropriate steps to prevent a recurrence.”

Its three-paragraph statement, in its entirety, read:

“On March 11, 2021, a PCA employee at our plant in Collegeville, Pennsylvania was injured when his hand became caught in a piece of manufacturing equipment. The fire department was contacted to help with the rescue. First responders were able to free the employee and he was transported to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The employee was released from the hospital the same day and is expected to make a full recovery. We extend our well-wishes to him and his family.”

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the first responders including the Perkiomen Township Fire Company, Collegeville Fire Company, Trappe Fire Company No. 1, Trappe Medic 324, Skippack Fire Company, Limerick Fire Department, Lower Providence Fire Department, Lower Frederick Fire Company, Upper Providence Township Fire and Emergency Services, Royersford Fire Department, Worcester Volunteer Fire Department, Black Rock Volunteer Fire Company, and Montgomery County Department of Public Safety special operations, rescue, and EMS teams.”

“We will conduct a full review to determine the cause of the incident and take all appropriate steps to prevent a recurrence.”

Issuance of the release followed the Friday morning publication of a story by The Post. It appears below with its original headline.

Responders Rescue Man Caught in Plant Machinery

PERKIOMEN PA – More than a dozen first-responding fire departments and companies, fire police units, rescue units, ambulance and emergency medical entities, and police departments rushed Thursday (March 11, 2021) at 9:40 a.m. to assist a male at the Valley Forge Sheet Plant facility of Packaging Corporation of America, 5 Iron Bridge Rd., whose hand became stuck in equipment.

Responders Rescue Man Caught in Plant Machinery

The individual was successfully extricated, but his condition at the time was unavailable and has not been updated. He was flown by a JeffSTAT helicopter from the scene to a hospital for treatment.

Video footage from the interior of the plant where the individual had been trapped shows it filled with helmeted and jacketed firefighters (below) following directions of those working at the equipment, as well as COVID-masked employees who watched the rescue from a distance (at top). Many responders crowded around large, green-colored machinery that was being disassembled, in part by those using specialized cutting torches and a variety of other tools, to make the extraction possible.

Responders Rescue Man Caught in Plant Machinery

Smoke could be seen billowing from the machinery, and sparks flew, at times while rescuers worked. Firefighters brought in large fans to clear the air while the effort proceeded. “Half-way through!,” some of them were heard to declare, as teams reported the status of their progress.

Responders Rescue Man Caught in Plant Machinery

Emergency medical personnel also could be seen in video footage, holding bags of intravenous fluids and trailing tubing aloft, pulling a patient gurney closer to the equipment, and unpacking carrying cases of supplies.

Then, after the man was pulled from the machinery and placed on the wheeled gurney, a male voice could be heard shouting “Clear a hole!,” as he was rushed from the building, accompanied by medical attendants.

Rescue and other crews were at the scene for about two hours.

Responders Rescue Man Caught in Plant Machinery

Responders included the Collegeville Fire Company, Trappe Fire Company No. 1, Trappe Medic 324, Skippack Fire Company, Limerick Fire Department, Lower Providence Fire Department, Lower Frederick Fire Company, Upper Providence Township Fire and Emergency Services, Royersford Fire Department, Worcester Volunteer Fire Department, Black Rock Volunteer Fire Company, and Montgomery County Department of Public Safety special operations, rescue, and EMS teams.

Photos by Ted Hodgins of the Perkiomen Fire Company, used by The Post with permission
Descriptions in this report rely in part on video footage also by Ted Hodgins