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Emergency crews rescue 600-pound man from Upper Burrell home

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Emergency workers had to cut a hole in the side of house on Manchester Hill Road to free a 600-pound man who was found conscious but incoherent by township police on Monday afternoon.

The weight and condition of the middle-aged man, along with the large amount of "accumulated property" in his two-story home, prevented a traditional rescue by ambulance crews.

The ordeal started when police received a request to check on the welfare of George Sargent, who lives there by himself, according to Upper Burrell police Chief Ken Pate.

Police have been asked to check on Sargent before, Pate said.

"His weight has been a disability but he's been OK all of these years on his own," he said.

But not yesterday.

When emergency responders arrived, they called in a hazmat team about 2:30 p.m. from the Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety to check an odor in the home.

The odor was not deemed harmful and was identified as "residual stink," according to Dan Stevens, the county's deputy emergency management coordinator.

Emergency workers had a difficult time navigating around 30 years of accumulated property at Sargent's residence, according to Pate.

To make room to remove Sargent from his home, officials first had to tow his Dodge Ram pickup, whose cab was two-thirds full of litter, such as pizza boxes, egg cartons and beverage containers.

Emergency responders came from Upper Burrell Volunteer Fire Company and Lower Burrell Volunteer Fire Company No. 3, and Murrysville Medic 1 provided an extra-weight-bearing gurney.

As Sargent is a longtime and well-known resident, emergency officials draped a large, silver tarp between Sargent's home and a nearby garage to provide privacy for him during his transfer from the house.

Emergency workers took Sargent out of the house through a hole they cut through a wall.

Sargent then was loaded onto a flat-bed tow truck, which drove him to an ambulance waiting nearby.

Pate did not know his condition or to which hospital he was taken.

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