By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
A Rockholds woman and a Corbin man were airlifted Wednesday afternoon to a Tennessee hospital with injuries, after the mobile home they were blocking up collapsed on them on the woman’s Whitley County property.
Both Jackie Perry, 40, of Colonel Hollow Road in Rockholds, and Roger Alsip, 43, of Corbin, were blocking up, or “jacking up,” a mobile home that was recently purchased, when the trailer fell on them. That’s according to Charles Walker, Chief of the Rockholds Volunteer Fire Department.
The accident occurred between 3:30-3:45 p.m. on the property where Perry had the mobile home located, at 401 Colonel Hollow Road. Rockholds rescuers were the first at the scene, and were quickly assisted by members of the Woodbine Volunteer Fire Department and two ambulances from Whitley County EMS.
“They were very lucky. They just bought the trailer and were blocking it up, underneath the trailer putting up more blocks, when it collapsed,” said Rick Fore, Chief of the Woodbine Volunteer Fire Department.
A neighbor who wished to remain anonymous saw the accident happen.
“The trailer was level, and all of a sudden, it just gave way. Just like that,” he said, snapping his finger.
Rescuers with both Rockholds and Woodbine Volunteer Fire Departments had to go to both the front and back of the mobile home, since both injured persons were on opposite sides.
Fore noted Alsip was pinned on the front of the trailer, while Perry was in the back.
“He was laying with the lower part of his hips down when we got to him. We had to use one set of spreaders and two 21-ton airbags to lift the whole front side where he was pinned under. They flew him out first. The woman was pinned on the back side. We used a hammer to dig her out. You can see the hole we dug under the trailer so we could get her out of there. She was pinned in between the two frames,” said Fore.
As both Perry and Alsip were being rescued, personnel from Woodbine and Rockholds quickly went to Whitley North Elementary School to clear and prepare the football field behind the school for two Air Evac Lifeteam medical helicopters to land.
The first helicopter landed on the field around 4:10 p.m. Within minutes, the first ambulance arrived, with Alsip inside. Shortly afterwards, a second chopper made a landing on the field, minutes before the ambulance bringing Perry got to the football field at the school.
Both Perry and Alsip were airlifted to the University of Tennessee Hospital in Knoxville. As of Wednesday night, both were still being evaluated in the hospital’s emergency room.
Law enforcement officials praised the first responders for their work under extreme pressure, and precious time ticking away.
“They did a heck of a job, using the airbags, using what resources they had available and coming together as a team in a very dangerous situation. It was an amazing job they did to save those two persons,” said Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy Shawn Jackson.
His boss, Sheriff Colan Harrell, agreed wholeheartedly.
“They’re all volunteers and rushed to the scene within minutes. They all worked as a team to do an excellent, fantastic job,” said Harrell.
While Fore agreed the two persons were lucky after the collapse, he also gave persons who plan on blocking a mobile home some advice about doing what Fore called a potentially dangerous situation.
“Now, if anyone buys a trailer and needs it jacked up and put pads under it, it has to be done by certified people. And it has to be inspected by the State Fire Marshall,” he said.
Rockholds trailer was being blocked when it collapsed
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
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