Three Department of Public Works employees in Lewiston, Maine are being lauded for helping save a man’s life after one of those workers spotted the man on the street holding his own severed arm.
According to city officials in Lewiston, the incident happened around 9:00 a.m. this past Friday near Maple Street.
The public works employees were out sanding roads and sidewalks in the area when one of them, Ryan Barry, was driving, noticed the man carrying his detached limb and immediately pulled over.
Police are still investigating the exact circumstances of how the man lost the arm but they believe he somehow came into contact with a band saw at AK Market, a nearby business.
Investigators have said they followed a trail of blood to the market and say a separate OSHA investigation is being opened to determine if there was some kind of workplace accident or violation.
However, they have not said why the man was near the saw and an employee at AK Market on Monday declined to comment on the incident to NECN/NBC 10 Boston after in-person requests.
Meanwhile, Lewiston’s Public Works Director Mary Ann Brenchick says she feels enormous "pride" that employees in her department were able to step in.
After Barry began to assist, he called two other employees, Cam Bernard and Bob Olsen, who were working close to the spot he had found the man, as well as first responders.
The pair of employees arrived before emergency services and were able to turn a vest into a tourniquet to slow down the man’s bleeding.
According to Brenchick, Bernard and Olsen “are trained arborists and they’re trained on chainsaw safety,” which allowed them to treat such a severe limb loss, which she described as being up to the man’s shoulder.
"They train other people on how to do tourniquets," she said, adding that she calls their proximity to the scene "divine intervention."
Brenchick believes the city will find a way to honor the three men at some point after the police investigation is complete, though she says they feel "humbled" and are not seeking recognition.
"We respond and don’t always get that recognition up front nor do we want it because we don’t expect it," said Brenchick, highlighting that public works are in a sense first responders because they support police, fire and emergency services by performing tasks like road safety maintenance.
In an e-mailed statement, Barry said, "I am grateful that I could assist someone in need, and just did what I hope anyone else would do. I am happy to hear the gentleman is still alive, and relieved to hear that he survived the incident due to the quick actions of everyone involved."
Brenchick said that as of Monday the man who lost his arm remains hospitalized and is expected to remain in the hospital for at least several more days.