A Man Was Rescued From A Sinkhole In Leadville

An intern with Leadville Fire can now add mine shaft rescues to his list of skills, after coming to the aid of a man who fell 30 feet when an old shaft collapsed beneath him.

Video Transcript

KAREN LEIGH: A 21-year-old intern helped rescue a man from a sinkhole outside of a storage facility. This happened in Leadville. That man is recovering tonight. Good evening and thanks for being with us. I'm Karen Leigh.

JIM BENEMANN: I'm Jim Benemann. Our Mountain Newsroom reporter, Jamie Leary, with our top story from Leadville. So Jamie, at this point, do crews know why that sinkhole opened up?

JAIME LEARY: It could have had something to do with the weather, but we do know that this is, indeed, an old mine shaft. There are hundreds of them around the outskirts of Leadville. It's part of the history. And while they can collapse, people don't normally fall into them. This man was lucky his wife was around when he fell 30 feet below the ground here. And he's even luckier that first responders here know a thing or two about extreme rescues. In a matter of seconds, a man went from standing in front of a storage unit to 30 feet below the ground.

ALEX CONLIN: This is not a call we run often but we moved into gear and did what we knew we had to do to get him out safely.

JAIME LEARY: Alex Conlin was one of the first to respond Sunday he's been an intern with Leadville fire rescue for two years.

DANIEL DAILEY: He's hungry. He's hungry as a firefighter. He wants to learn. He's been very active in everything that we have done.

JAIME LEARY: When Alex arrived on scene.

DANIEL DAILEY: Our captain came to him and said, hey how do you feel about going down this hole.

ALEX CONLIN: I was down there less than five minutes after we arrived on scene.

JAIME LEARY: Mineshafts collapsing, it's something public works in Leadville deals with around twice a month.

MICHAEL IRWIN: It's like this is really off the wall, crazy, you know, usually they happen. We're in backyards or something like that.

JAIME LEARY: This one, it's opened up before and may have been covered in snow.

MICHAEL IRWIN: It's a possibility that at one point that it opened up during the wintertime and it was just covered with ice and then the ice fell in.

ALEX CONLIN: | mean, it's nerve wracking, especially as an intern. I'm younger in the fire service.

JAIME LEARY: Mineshaft rescues, something Alex can now add to his list of skills.

ALEX CONLIN: I went down in that hole knowing who I had above me and who was going to pull me out if things went South and that's why I love doing this job.

JAIME LEARY: And the man who fell in that hole is expected to make a full recovery. They're going to continue to fill it with rocks throughout the next couple of days and should have it topped off with cement by Thursday. Live in Leadville, Jamie Leary CBS4 Mountain Newsroom.

KAREN LEIGH: So glad everybody's all right, Jamie. Thanks so much.