First responders rescue grandfather from fall in attic, stay to finish his project

Posted at 1:40 PM, Oct 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-02 13:40:08-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - They always come when something's burning.

However, when firefighters in Kansas City, Kansas, responded to an emergency at a home near Piper on Friday, they found an injured grandfather who'd suffered a dangerous fall in a tight spot.

Ken Hargis, 71, had taken a tumble in his unfinished garage attic while installing insulation there on Friday. Hargis had lost his balance while working in the dark, hot attic, and when he fell, he landed on a supportive wooden rafter beam.

Hargis said he was inches away from missing the beam, which might have sent him crashing through the garage ceiling onto the concrete floor below.

The retired nuclear plant worker said he'd laid insulation many times in that attic, but he'd never taken a violent fall.

Ken and Becky Hargis

Hargis and his wife, Becky, said it took KCK Fire Department paramedics less than 10 minutes to reach the garage where Ken laid writhing in pain. He'd used a ladder to reach the ceiling cutout entry above, and he had no way of escaping without assistance.

"If I would hold still, on a scale of one to 10, it was about a three. If I moved at all, it went to 10 real quick," Ken Hargis told WDAF on Monday.

Paramedics used a medical tarp to slide Ken through that ceiling cutout to the ladder below.

Then, to Ken and Becky's surprise, five workers stayed at the house, insisting to complete the insulation work for the couple. Meanwhile, Ken was in an emergency room, where doctors discovered a deep bone bruise on his hip but nothing life-threatening.

"(The paramedics) said, 'No. This is what we do,'" Hargis said. "'We're going to finish what you've got here.'"

Becky Hargis said this might have been a different story if Ken hadn't kept his phone handy. That's how Ken summoned help from her. She was headed out to lunch with friends that afternoon, and if he hadn't called her, it might have been hours before help arrived.

A spokesperson for KCK Fire told WDAF he'd never heard of generous paramedics doing work around a patient's house in this manner, but it's nice news to hear.

"They were so professional and so kind. We were very impressed," Becky Hargis said. "We are so thankful. That was so kind of them. They just went above and beyond."