Date/Time: 02/08/2024, 9:49 AM
Location: 8200 block of Cherry Ave, Fontana
Incident: Confined Space Rescue. (BDC#: 24-033331)


This morning at 9:50 AM, San Bernardino County Fire responded to a reported Rescue in the 8200 block of Cherry Avenue in the City of Fontana. The 911 caller stated that a female had fallen into a sinkhole.

Firefighters arrived at a mobile park and were directed to an opening in the earth between two trailers. The victim, an adult female, was located approximately 25 feet down in the bottom of an old septic tank. Firefighters were able to make voice contact with the victim who stated that the ground beneath her feet had suddenly collapsed while she was walking in her yard.

Due to the limited access and un-reinforced soil of the hole with potential for cave-in, the call was upgraded to a confined space rescue. County Fire’s Urban Search & Rescue team along with Rancho Cucamonga Fire’s Technical Rescue team were assigned to the incident.

Rescue crews constructed a rope system which incorporated a high point via a tripod in order to minimize disturbance to the surrounding earth and reduce the risk of cave-in. A single rescuer was lowered into the hole and assisted the victim in donning a harness. Both victim and rescuer were then successfully hoisted out of the tank.

The patient was assessed by firefighter/paramedics and transported to a local trauma center for evaluation of non-life-threatening lower extremity injuries.

After the rescue was complete, the scene was turned over to the State Housing Board, the agency responsible for mobile home parks, for investigation & mitigation of the septic tank access. No evacuations were required, and the occupants are expected to be able to return home this evening.

San Bernardino County Fire responded with three engines, a truck company, an Urban Search and Rescue team, two medic squads, three chief officers, and one Safety Officer.

Rancho Cucamonga Fire District assisted with their Technical Rescue Team and a chief officer.

San Bernardino County Fire hosts one of California’s 12 Regional Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Forces certified by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

County Fire’s USAR Task Force is identified as Regional USAR Task Force 6 or CA-RTF-6. County Fire’s special USAR equipment includes seven Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) vehicles, three of which are Type 1 Heavy Rescue units, which provide the highest level of local USAR response capability. A Regional USAR Task Force includes 29 specially trained personnel and is authorized to respond to major rescue emergencies including mass transit accidents and large-scale disasters such as earthquakes or major terrorist incidents.