Phone: (314) 843-0102
Fax: (314) 843-0508
flag image

Heavy lifting

Mehlville firefighters participate in training exercise

Mike Anthony
Executive Editor

(click for larger version)
October 23, 2013 - Mehlville Fire Protection District firefighters used struts to lift a school bus off a car during a training exercise last week in the parking lot of the Mehlville School District's South County Opportunity for the Purpose of Education/South St. Louis County Management School building on Will Avenue.

The struts and other tools utilized during the exercise came from the fire district's heavy rescue squad, which Mehlville took delivery of in September 2011. Mehlville is one of the few fire protection districts in St. Louis County that operates a full-time heavy rescue squad.

The 2011 Pierce rescue truck has more than 500 pieces of equipment, including specialized tools and equipment used for specific rescue situations. It also contains its own electric power plant, air compressors and light tower.

The scenario utilized in last week's training session, according to MFPD Capt. Dave Waser, involved a motorist who made the "bad choice" of texting on his cellphone while driving, colliding with the school bus with the front half of the vehicle ending up underneath the bus.

"It's all about choices," Waser told the Call.

While it may appear that the driver and a front-seat passenger may not be able to survive such a collision, that's not the case, according to Waser and Deputy Chief Dan Furrer.

The driver and a passenger certainly could survive the crash, they said. The goal then is to stabilize and raise the bus, so the vehicle's occupants can receive the medical attention they need.

The bus used in the training scenario was one no longer needed by the Mehlville School District, and MFPD officials said they were very appreciative of the school district's generosity and cooperation.

During the Oct. 17 training session, Waser told firefighters he participated in a similar training exercise in Chicago.

"When I did the training up in Chicago, we lifted a bread truck with a car inside of it off of a car similar to this," he said. "We lifted a bus straight in the air with their equipment. We don't have what they have, but we were able to lift a school bus six foot off of the ground that had cars underneath it — in front and back.

They had a cement truck rolled over on top of a car …," he said, adding the training in Chicago involved numerous scenarios.

Of the struts involved in the training exercise, Waser said each one is capable of holding up to 80,000 pounds. Four struts were utilized to raise the bus off the car, while wood cribbing was used to stabilize the back end of the bus.

"… Basically, what we want to do is put it in the back of your head that we have another resource that we might be able to use for something …," he told firefighters.

To view a gallery of photos from the training exercise, visit

Tags: Mehlville Fire Protection News

  • Related Editorial
    Impact News
    Local meeting guide 2015
    Jan 08 2014
    Impact News
    Crestwood mayor favors tax-rate hike to address capital needs
    Sales tax for capital needs in Crestwood expires in 2017
    Sep 02 2015
    At an informational event set up by a resident last week, Mayor Gregg Roby said deferred capital needs are more than Crestwood’s budget can handle and he would favor a tax-rate increase to fix the city’s ...
    Impact News
    MFPD in strong financial condition, auditor reports
    Fire district’s tax rate lowest in county nine years running
    Jul 15 2015
    The financial condition of the Mehlville Fire Protection District remains strong, despite a decrease in the district’s net position....
    Impact News
    Green Park to celebrate 20 years of incorporation
    Campaign to incorporate city organized by Fred Hoehn in 1994
    Jul 08 2015
    The city of Green Park will mark its 20th anniversary of incorporation with a celebration Sunday, July 12, on the parking lot of City Hall, 11100 Mueller Road....
    Our Town
    Mehlville firefighter honored
    May 13 2015
    The Kiwanis Club of South County recently honored Jake Lickteig of the Mehlville Fire Protection District for the outstanding performance of his duties and service to the community. Besides serving as ...
Site Search

Type in your zip code and click "Go" to get your 7-day forecast.