Firefighter in critical condition after freak accident

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– An East Hartford firefighter is now awaiting surgery after a freak accident. The firefighter was on a roof Thursday when he stepped on a skylight covered with snow and fell down two stories into a parking garage.

Ginny Apple came outside to show photos she took from the 6th floor of her office building.

“They had crawled from the area, from the north on hands and knees over to there. That’s thin ice. I know,” said Apple.

It overlooks the Connecticut River. A woman had jumped off the I-84 bridge and landed on the thin ice below.

“He’s got rope wrapped around him just in case and you can’t see it but there are wires coming from over here. All the time everyone in the building is plastered to the windows watching. You feel bad, you know you don’t want to be a voyeur but it’s so tragic and we were all so stunned,” said Apple.

She just wanted to show News 8 her pictures and ended up telling the story of much more than just an ice rescue. One of those people looking out the window in her office may have saved the life of a firefighter.

firefighter accident

“He walked up here. You can see the foot prints stepped there and then boom! He was just trying to get a better view of the river and that is a long drop. He was a fireman, he was trying to help out and that was pretty shocking for us because he just disappears,” said Apple.

Ginny says Chief Training Officer James Silver was on the river bank on a restraining wall when he stepped on a skylight covered with snow. He fell into the parking garage stairwell below.

sky light fall

“He fell at least that far down to the landing and he may have even gone down one more,” said Apple. “He saw him fall through and he ran immediately he knew where it was to go there to his air and he said he was on the phone at the time and was talking.”

Thursday night, the person who jumped off the bridge did not survive and James Silver was in critical condition at Hartford Hospital.

“It is very numbing, very sad to think that someone would want to end their life that way or try to and putting firefighters at risk. I don’t think those people think about that at the time, but it is very courageous of the firefighters,” said Apple.

James Silver has since been discharged from Hartford Hospital and is no longer in critical condition. He is currently at his home awaiting surgery that may happen this weekend.

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