Marblehead fire captain commends National Grid crew for life-saving actions

Fire Captain Eric Ridge commended two National Grid employees for their life-saving actions in rescuing an 80-year-old woman on Marblehead Neck at 4:10 a.m. on March 10, when a storm had closed the Veterans Memorial Causeway during high tide.

“During winter storms that close the causeway, we stage an engine on the Neck along with a National Grid crew, a water and sewer crew, light department crew and a police officer,” Ridge said. “We do this to ensure we can respond to emergencies such as fires, medical situations, gas leaks, etc.”

The Eastern Yacht Club hosts the public safety and utility crews, a protocol that Ridge credited with saving the elderly woman’s life. National Grid employees Mark Weinberg, Michael Plunkett and Derrick Cutter discovered the woman lying on her side in the middle of Wallingford Road, exposed to sleet and wind.

“One of the National Grid employees took a blanket from their vehicle and covered the woman,” Ridge said. Upon arrival, Ridge and firefighters Richard Ehlert and Jack Morris found the National Grid employees shielding the woman from the elements. 

“She was extremely cold, thinking she had been out there for over an hour,” Ridge said. “It was cold for us just standing there for five to 10 minutes, so I can’t imagine what she went through.”

The woman was taken to the hospital. The Current has learned that she is OK. A language barrier initially hindered communication, but Morris used Google Translator to bridge the gap. 

“We were then able to ask her questions to determine who she was and how she ended up in that situation,” said Ridge, who did not share those details to protect the woman’s privacy.

Fire Chief Jason Gilliland plans to write a letter to the National Grid employees’ supervisor, praising their swift actions.

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