People rescued from stranded cars in Frederick

All were rescued by 2 p.m., authorities said, including a man stranded with medical problems

February 11, 2010|By Liz F. Kay | | Baltimore Sun reporter

People from all but 10 vehicles that were stranded overnight on snowy roads in Frederick County had been rescued by 2 p.m., the director of Frederick County fire and rescue services said.

The last 10 cars are believed to be abandoned, based on initial information, "but we're going to make sure we get to all 10 to verify that's the case," said Tom Owens, director of Frederick County's fire and rescue services.

With high winds and whiteout conditions forcing state and county plows to stop running, about 39 cars were stuck on Frederick roads, Owens said. Areas such as Brunswick, Jefferson, Buckystown in the southern part of the county as well as Routes 340 and 15 north of Thurmont were particularly treacherous.

Emergency personnel were able to keep cell phone contact with most of the drivers, he said.

By 6 a.m., they prioritized the list and were able to move in with a combination of large snow removal equipment as well as fire and EMS units and National Guard vehicles, Owens said.

They worked three hours to reach their highest priority, a man stranded in the Adamstown area who started to suffer medical problems and then lost contact.

Firefighters had to walk through nearly four foot snowdrifts for the last quarter-mile and were able to remove him with the aid of a snow mobile borrowed from a resident, Owens said.

Rescued individuals are being taken first to the fire stations for medical evaluations and then home or to a warming shelter set up at a county senior center in Frederick, he said.

But thankfully no one was seriously injured, Owens said. "Everyone weathered the night very well," he said. "The only real injuries we're starting to see are injuries from snowblowers and people overexerting themselves."

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