June 13, 2015 - Just recently, WTG Fire & Rescue was called for yet another incident at Crabtree Falls. The falls have now taken over 29 lives, since the count was started. Below is an article from the Staunton News Leader, about a young man who fell, and survived, last summer.
Verona man fell 75 feet ... and he survived
VERONA — Jeffrey Snook still has flashbacks of himself falling.
It comes in waves, but even almost a year after he slipped from the rocks while hiking at Crabtree Falls, he still relives that moment of descent.
On June 20, 2014, Snook was hiking with friends when he walked toward one of the rocks at the falls. It was a split second as he slipped on the wet algae and was sent spiraling down 75 feet.
He landed in a small pool of water, but rocks broke his fall.
Last weekend Franklin Miguel Madrana Guevara, a Northern Virginia resident, fell to his death at the falls, which made it the 29th or 30th victim of Nelson County’s Crabtree Falls area since the U.S. Forest Service began keeping records in 1982, according to an Associated Press article.
Snook and his fiancée, Ashlee Potter, had thought about going to the falls this past weekend, but opted not to.
“It’s so weird after hearing about that guy who fell over the weekend,” Potter said.
Snook has yet to return to the scene of his accident, but feels once he does, the flashbacks could stop.
“I haven’t had the guts to go back,” he said.
Last year wasn’t his first time hiking there. Snook has been there multiple times with family and friends. He said the markers on the trail aren’t well addressed and people can easily wander from the path.
“I was trying to get a better view and all I know is I went down,” he said.
The next thing he remembers is waking up in the hospital. Wintergreen Fire and Rescue drove him an hour and half to the University of Virginia Medical Center. He was brought back to life three times while at the hospital, he said.
He shattered his pelvis, broke his arm and leg among a list of other injuries. The one thing was he didn’t hit his head, which saved his life.
“I don’t know how I survived, by the power of God I did,” Snook said.
He remained in the hospital for two months and had to do rehabilitation for his leg in order to walk again.
“We’re still amazed there were no head injuries whatsoever,” Potter said.
Snook has received multiple surgeries, and most recently had plates taken out of his hip, and had three large screws put in. He also had 150 staples in his body after the accident.
He severely bruised his back as well, but luckily he didn’t break it.
“I thought I’d never be able to walk again,” Snook said.
He still has an obvious limp and sometimes uses a cane to help him walk.
“I think that everybody’s first worry was he would be paralyzed,” said Isabelle Kincaid, Snook’s grandmother.
According to representatives at George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, the Crabtree Falls hiking area is adequately marked.
But Snook said the trails need maintenance, including the stairs near the falls which he said are extremely slippery.
But forestry service signs do warn against the slick algae and staying away from the falls, according to its website.
District Forest Ranger Lauren Stull said since 2010 there have been two serious injuries and three accidental deaths on the falls.
“We have a variety of warning signs and or railings or barrier the length of the Crabtree Falls trail,” she said. “Those signs warn hikers of potential dangers near the falls.”
“In the past, most accidents have occurred when hikers have moved beyond the trail, past signs or barriers,” she added.
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June 6, 2015 - More photos and the specifications on our newest apparatus: 2015 Rosenbaur Pumper/Tanker on a 2015 Mack Granite Chassis. 2500 gallons of water. 1500GPM Waterous pump with Compressed Air Foam System. 505 horse-power engine with Allison automatic transmission.
Tanker 2 has ARRIVED
May 23, 2015 - Tanker 2 has arrived to Wintergreen Fire & Rescue! Training has begun for all career and volunteer staff. Tanker 2 will carry 2 firefighters and 2500 gallons of water. The CAFS system on board should also cut down the time is takes to extinguish a fire by over half. Keep your eyes out for new photos from the training on our website.
Partnership with Clemson University
April 7, 2015 - Ever watch a football game on national TV and see injured players carted off on fancy golf carts? Sometimes the carts look like specialized equipment and sometimes they look like golf carts with a slab of plywood attached.Two years ago Wintergreen Fire & Rescue was contracted to provide EMS support for the Lockn’ Music Festival. The medical carts were provided by a rental company and let’s just say they left a lot to be desired. Last year a different vendor was used and things were much better. Even still, there are so many things which could be optimized if only the cart designer actually understood EMS. Enter EZ-Go and Clemson University.
Shortly after Lockn’ concluded we were contacted by a group of Engineering students at Clemson University who were competing to see who could design the optimum medical cart. The contest sponsor (TSV) is the parent company for EZ-Go and they aspire to standardize medical carts used at special events on a global level.
The employees who worked Lockn’ began providing feedback to the engineers via a fairly elaborate survey process and a subsequent series of questions and answers via email. Our group won, and now hopefully their design could become a prototype for TSV.
Our friends from Clemson University. Miller Lane, our liaison is on the far right. We look forward to seeing them at this year’s Lockn’ as designated drivers…..hint hint!!!
Brimstone House Training Exercise
March 23, 2015 - Today the crew on shift was given the opportunity to practice our skills on a home that is scheduled for demolition. Roof Ventilation, thru the wall access and thru the floor escape/rescue were just some of the items covered. A smoke machine was utilized in creating the effects of a smoked filled home.
Structure Fire on the Mtn
January 25, 2015 - At approximately 3:30PM on January 25 Wintergreen Fire Department was dispatched for a report of smoke coming from a structure on Devil's Knob. As soon as responders passed by the Mountain Inn a column of heavy black smoke was visible. Upon arrival crews found a two-story unoccupied structure with heavy fire. The roof was starting to collapse prior to arrival of the first fire apparatus.
The structure was a total loss. There were no injuries. The blaze was under control after approximately 60 minutes, with an additional 2 hours needed for salvage and overhaul. There was no damage to neighboring structures.
Apparatus/Personnel On Scene
Wintergreen Truck 1
Wintergreen Engine 1
Wintergreen Engine 2
Wintergreen Utility 7
Wintergreen Medic 178
Wintergreen Medic 176
Wintergreen Response 174
Wintergreen Chiefs 1, 2, and 3
Wintergreen FD Volunteers 6
Wintergreen PD x 2 units
Wintergreen Ski Patrol/Wintergreen Resort - 6
Piney River FD Salvage 22 with 2
Wilson FD (Augusta) Engine 191 and Salvage 197 w 8
Rockfish FD Engine 51 and Tanker 53 Filled Wintergreen Station 2 plus 3 FFs at Scene
Stuarts Draft FD filled Wilson FD
Nelson County Service Authority - 1
All totaled 39 personnel, of which 22 were from Wintergreen.
Tanker 3 Update
January 16, 2015 - We have just recieved new photos of the tankers progress, check out the pump testing and rear dump.
John Claman - Life Membership
January 1, 2015 - John is our newest Life Member after having volunteered over 1,000 hours each year for several consecutive years. To become a Life Member of the Rescue Squad a volunteer must be peer nominated and approved. Congrats John!
For other stories, see our Story Archive.