PA American Water secures reservoir where well rescue took place


COVINGTON TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Pennsylvania American Water is taking steps to better secure one of its reservoirs in Lackawanna County.

Late Saturday night, a 14-year-old girl fell nearly 100-feet into a well near the Hollister Reservoir in Covington Township and needed to be rescued.

The fire chief and volunteers in Covington Township take pride in their training but admit the well rescue is one of the most challenging calls they’ve ever taken part in.

By Monday, the owner of the property wasted no time in making changes to hopefully prevent another scenario.

Contractors spent Monday fixing a gate just off Jubilee Road in Covington Township which recently had its lock cut.

This is a main access point to the Hollister Reservoir and about a mile in is where the 14-year-old girl feel nearly 100 feet into the concrete well.

“It’s a miracle,” Chief Brad Jones from the Covington Independent Fire Company said. “When we get called to these calls, you never know what you’re going to but something like that, it’s a once in a lifetime, hopefully once in a lifetime incident.”

Chief Brad Jones shared pictures of the rescue with Eyewitness News.

He says the girl was with two friends when she fell through an open manhole on the top of a tower.

The teenage girl landed in about 12 feet of water and rescuers had to drop ropes and a basket to pull her out.

The first police officer on scene even went into the well to help the teen.

Susan Turcmanovich with Pennsylvania American Water says immediate steps are being taken to better secure the property which is a known place for partiers.

“As nice as these remote locations are, they are very dangerous and they are remote and it’s difficult not just for them to get to but also the first responders,” Turcmanovich said.

New NO TRESPASSING signs were also added to the private property in Covington Township Monday. The signs warn people that if they trespass and are caught, they will be held prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Chief Jones says he plans to work with township and state leaders to see if even more safety measures can be taken.

“The access to that tower should be taken down. There’s no reason for anyone to be up there and anything short of them removing walkways and covering holes that are open, unfortunately the next time we’re up there I think it’s going to be a recovery not a rescue,” Chief Jones said.

Pennsylvania American Water crews say they also spent Monday replacing the cover of the manhole where the girl fell. A spokeswoman says there used to be one there but it had to be moved by someone for some reason.

As for the 14-year-old girl, she remains in the hospital with leg and hip injuries but they are not considered life threatening.

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