Fremont firefighters help rebuild pump house where 92-year-old man fell in

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A group of Fremont firefighters had a unique assignment Wednesday. They're building a new well pump house on top of a well where a 92-year-old man fell in last month. (KGO-TV)

A group of Fremont firefighters had a unique assignment Wednesday. They're building a new well pump house on top of a well where a 92-year-old man fell in last month.

"Hopefully it's stout enough that he'll never fall in again. It's much safer," said Mark Hogan, a firefighter paramedic with the Fremont Fire Department.

Firefighters destroyed the original shed while rescuing a 92-year-old man. Ernest Silva fell through the pump house floor and into the well on his property in late March.

"I was thinking the worst in the world," said Capt. Michael Laughlin, Fremont Fire. Capt. Laughlin's engine company was the first on scene.

Silva fell some 26 feet down the brick lined well until he hit water. He estimates the well has eight feet of water in it currently. While too private to talk on camera or show his face Silva tells ABC7's Katie Utehs he's never been so happy to hear sirens. When help arrived he'd been pushing against the brick lined well with his feet and back to stay above water for about half an hour.

RELATED: 92-year-old Fremont man rescued after falling 26 feet into well

"It was an amazing feet of strength on his part," noted Laughlin.

Firefighters used a ladder at a high angle and rope to pull him out of the well. Silva suffered some hypothermia and bruising, but otherwise came out fine after being stuck in the well for an hour and a half total.

The plan to rebuild came the same day as the rescue.

"We knew we had to do the right thing by building the pump house for him," recalled Laughlin.

Firefighters are volunteering time.

"It's a lot of fun. Like I said, we're public servants off duty as well as on duty," said Hogan.

The Home Depot donated $500 in materials. The fire and police unions are covering the rest.

"He (Silva) really wants to help out paying for it and I said, 'listen I'll bring my engine company down here one day we'll steal three of your artichokes and we'll call it good.'" said Laughlin.
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