Three hour fight to free man

A MAN believed to weigh nearly 50 stone was in Ipswich Hospital today after it took the emergency services three-hours to get him out of his home using a forklift.

A MAN believed to weigh nearly 50 stone was in Ipswich Hospital today after it took the emergency services three-hours to get him out of his home using a forklift.

The extent of their efforts was such that a brick wall had to be demolished to create a big enough gap for the forklift to reach the man.

An ambulance crew was called to the man's home in Woodhouse Square, Ipswich, to take him into hospital for a pre-arranged operation.

However the man was unable to leave the house unaided and firefighters were called in to help.

But taking him from the house just off Rope Walk became a complex and long exercise.

The ambulance service were called to the address at 4pm, but quickly asked for assistance.

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Jason Gillingham, clinic performance manager for the East Anglian Ambulance Trust, said: "We have a rather large patient who we cannot remove from the house. We did not try to get him out of the house, we called on the fire service for their assistance in extracting the patient."

The fire service arrived on the scene and, using a spade and a sledge hammer, knocked down a 2ft high wall at the side of the address to allow the three-wheel forklift truck to gain access to the front of the house.

A 10ft wide gap was needed to get the forklift close enough to the house and a tree-stump in the front garden was also removed so the man could be lifted through a ground-floor window.

Glass from the window, a radiator and plants from the front garden were also removed.

Watched by an ever-increasing crowd of curious onlookers, the unusual operation drew to an end at 7.15pm.

Around three hours after first being called to the scene, a twenty-strong team, including a dozen fire-fighters, managed to remove the man from the house in a harness which was attached to the forklift. He was taken by ambulance to Ipswich Hospital.

Karl Rolfe, Assistant Divisional Officer, at Suffolk Fire Service said: "We removed the window and part of the wall to allow us to gain full access to the house to remove him. It all went very well but it was very hard work. The operation itself was very difficult and hard to carry out. It involved moving garden walls and using a forklift.

"The ambulance crew asked for our help and for health and safety reasons we have sealed off the whole area."

Residents living nearby said the man was a well-known character. One elderly woman said: "He's not very old, he recently had a double hernia operation. I think he lives with his mother, but he doesn't leave the house often.

Another neighbour said: "The only time I've ever seen him is with his mum, he's only been living here about seven months.

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