Man falls through roof in the city

Posted: May 24, 2013

The Winchester Star

Winchester Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Kevin Yost directs the operator of a ladder truck as firefighter Allen Ballenger rides with a man being lowered to the ground after he fell Thursday through the roof while trying to fix a leak at the Fort Collier Terrace townhouses and apartments on North Braddock Street. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)
Winchester rescue personnel load Tim Nichols of Stephens City into an ambulance after he fell through a roof Thursday at Fort Collier Terrace townhouses and apartments. He was admitted to Winchester Medical Center. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — A Stephens City man is hospitalized after falling through an apartment roof Thursday and getting his leg pinned.

“We were putting a temporary patch on the roof,” said fellow maintenance worker Kirk Baker. “He stepped up on the roof and his leg went through it.”

He and 50-year-old Tim Nichols work at Fort Collier Terrace Apartments and Townhomes, 928 N. Braddock St.

Baker — who was holding the ladder for Nichols to climb on the roof — said he immediately went up to try and rescue his coworker, who he said appeared to be pinned from the groin area down.

“I tried to peel the wood back and it hurt his leg too much,” Baker said.

Winchester Fire and Rescue units got the call just after 10 a.m. It took about 20 minutes to rescue Nichols using a truck ladder, rope system and stokes basket, according to Battalion Chief Craig Strawderman.

A stokes basket is a large wire basket used for hoisting and lifting people.

Rouss and Friendship volunteer fire and rescue companies responded.

Their rescue efforts caused a spectacle, as people gathered outside.

Some had their mouths covered and watched in awe and others made conversation during the rescue effort, trying to figure out what had happened.

Just as it started to rain, Nichols was lowered from the roof to the ground and put into an ambulance for transport to Winchester Medical Center.

Willard Douglas, 25, lives in the apartment that Nichols fell through, and said he could see his leg from inside.

Still, he said, he didn’t know it was as serious as it turned out to be.

Baker said later Thursday that Nichols was doing well, but would remain at WMC overnight.

He added that he was not seriously injured as far as he knew.

Nichols was unable to be reached for comment.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at